ABL Space Systems Rockets to $2.4 Billion Valuation

Harri Weber

Harri is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. She previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find her on Twitter and send tips on L.A. startups and venture capital to harrison@dot.la.

ABL rocket

Rocket builder ABL Space Systems announced a $200 million funding round on Monday, its biggest to date.

The deal values the El Segundo-based firm at $2.4 billion, seven months after it blew past the $1 billion mark to reach so-called unicorn status. Previous investors including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen, and others chipped in.

ABL says the latest injection of capital will go toward scaling production of its first rocket, the RS1 launch vehicle as well as to "conduct research and development of future systems."

Their RS1 aims to carry up to 1,350 kg into low Earth orbit — around 200 kilometers above the Earth. ABL is among a number of U.S. rocket builders like Long Beach-based Rocket Lab and Hawthorne-based SpaceX that are competing in the growing small satellite market.

In a possible dig at SpaceX and Elon Musk's grandiose talk of turning humans into an interplanetary species, ABL positions its rocket as a low-cost way to launch payloads: "No over-design, no gimmicks—just reliable, regular launches."

Co-founded in 2017 by former senior SpaceX engineer Harry O'Hanley, ABL has recently secured large contracts with Lockheed Martin, NASA, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Asked about the origin of the ABL name, co-founder and chief financial officer Dan Piemont told dot.LA by email, "There's no specific meaning behind it. Consider it a celebration of the storied history of opaque acronyms in space travel."

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Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

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How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

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