Long Beach-Based Virgin Orbit Going Public via SPAC, Valued At $3.2 Billion

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

virgin orbit launcherone rocket

Virgin Orbit, the four-year-old spinout of Richard Branson's space firm Virgin Galactic is merging with NextGen Acquisition Corp. 11 at the end of the year to become a publicly traded company under the NASDAQ ticker VORB.

The merger will provide the company with up to $483 million in new capital, Virgin Orbit predicts - $383 million from NextGen, and $100 million in PIPE that includes investors such as AE Industrial Partners and Boeing.

It's a win for Southern California's aerospace industry, which is home to both Virgin Orbit and Elon Musk's SpaceX along with the Space Force's new technology and acquisition arm. It also follows a string of space companies going public - launch firm Astra went public in June, and Long Beach-based Rocket Lab is slated to go public via SPAC this week.

Virgin Orbit put its money into the so-called "horizontal launch" method that launches rockets horizontally from the air at roughly 35,000 feet above sea level, rather than vertically from the ground, which, the company said, allows for more flexibility in when and where rockets are launched.

A Virgin Orbit Launcher One rocket launches via the company's so-called "horizontal launch" method.

The company most recently launched the Netherlands' first rocket into space using a modified Boeing 747 aircraft in June following a successful second launch test of its LauncherOne rocket and its first commercial mission to send supplies to NASA.

NextGen's co-founders, George Mattson and Greg Summe, are longtime investors in the aerospace industry, working closely with Delta Airlines, Virgin Galactic and divisions of Honeywell in various roles as executives. Summe said during an investor webcast the pair raised money "with the mission to find a high-growth technology company with a rapidly growing market, highly differentiating capability, and an outstanding leadership team."


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Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Los Angeles’ Wage Growth Outpaced Inflation. Here’s What That Means for Tech Jobs

Inflation hit cities with tech-heavy workforces hard last year. Tech workers fortunate enough to avoid layoffs still found themselves confronting rising costs with little change in their pay.

Those national trends certainly touched down in Los Angeles, but new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the city of angels was the only major metro area that saw its wage growth grow by nearly 6% while also outpacing the consumer price index, which was around 5%. Basically, LA was the only area where adjusted pay actually came out on a net positive.

So, what does this mean for tech workers in LA County?

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Energy Shares Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups

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 Wants to Offer You a Chance to Invest in Green Energy Startups
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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