Max Polyakov and Firefly Aerospace’s Latest Round of Investment Marks Incredible Change of Fortune
By Space Coast Daily // June 16, 2021
Back in 2017, Firefly Aerospace was lingering on the edge of bankruptcy. Founder and CEO Thomas Markusic had worked at SpaceX, NASA, and Virgin Galactic before striking out with his own space company.
Unfortunately, financial difficulties seemed to snuff out the veteran space worker’s brainchild as the company was to face imminent collapse. However, at the eleventh hour, Max Polyakov appeared as a fairy godmother to rescue Firefly Aerospace from the brink.
Entrepreneur’s Intervention Saves the Day
The Ukrainian-born entrepreneur clearly saw potential in the struggling company and, through his Noosphere Ventures investment portfolio, contributed $200 million of his own money to breathe life back into the firm.
Today, Firefly Aerospace is valued at over $1 billion and has just announced its latest round of funding has yielded $75 million from multiple high-profile investors. With its first launch scheduled for June 2021 looks like the space firm’s fortunes will, quite literally, take off.
New Rocket Only the First Step
Despite not having yet launched a single rocket, Firefly Aerospace has caught the attention of investors looking for a slice of the booming commercial space sector. The latest names putting their weight behind the company include Raven One Ventures, Canon Ball, DADA Holdings, and cryptocurrency entrepreneur Jed McCaleb.
Markusic states that this should be sufficient to keep operations on track for the rest of 2021. However, he and Max Polyakov are looking to raise a further $300 million by the end of the year, an ambition likely to hinge on the success of June’s Alpha rocket launch.
Firefly Aerospace Targets Gap in the Market
The Alpha rocket will be capable of transporting a payload of up to 2,200 lbs into Low Earth Orbit (LEO), positioning it as a medium-sized rocket in between SpaceX’s bigger craft and the smaller-scale vehicles developed by companies like Rocket Lab.
The launch is scheduled to take place in June at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base, where the space technology industry will have its attention turned. Should the launch prove a success, it will put Firefly Aerospace in a much stronger position as it attempts to secure future investment.
NASA Partnership Provides Seal of Approval
The company’s standing already received a major boost this year. It announced that it had won a $93.9 million contract to carry a payload to the moon for NASA, as the National American Space Agency readies itself for a major lunar program in the coming years.
With investors lining up to get a stake in the company’s success and NASA on speed dial, it seems like Max Polyakov and Thomas Markusic have good reason to believe that the company’s problems of 2017 are well behind them.