Startups Venture

Ursa Major Rockets Up Latest Raise To $138M

Illustration of rocket ship breaking atmosphere with money background

Rocket propulsion startup Ursa Major says it has added another $38 million to its previously reported $100 million Series D — bringing its total Series D and D-1 funding to $138 million.

The investments were led by Explorer 1 Fund and Eclipse, and include RTX Ventures, funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Exor Ventures, Mack & Co., XN and other institutional shareholders.

News of the Denver-based company’s Series D broke back in April, but the startup extended its fundraising to a Series D-1 “due to strong interest in accelerating development on several future programs,” it said in a release.

“In the year since our last funding round, Ursa Major has secured significant commercial and government customers, delivered dozens of flight-ready engines, introduced new engine concepts, and worked to address critical gaps in our nation’s defense,” said CEO and founder Joe Laurienti. “This includes developing Lynx, a line of solid rocket motors that can deliver urgently needed capabilities,”

Ursa Major plans to use the new cash infusion to develop Lynx, while also growing production capacity and advancing other propulsion programs. Also since its last funding, Ursa Major has introduced Draper, a new storable liquid engine designed to defend against hypersonic weapons.

The company did not release a valuation, but in April it was reported the space tech firm was looking to secure the funding at a $400 million pre-money valuation. Founded in 2015, the company has raised nearly $272 million, per Crunchbase.

Intersection of space and defense

Ursa Major’s tech can be used both in the defense and space industries — a popular combination these days even as funding in both have dipped.

Defense tech historically has not drawn venture capital. Crunchbase data shows that last year, U.S.-based defense tech startups saw only $2.1 billion invested — including Anduril’s $1.5 billion Series E in December.

This year, such startups have raised $634 million — including defense and aerospace startup Shield AI’s massive $200 million Series F at a $2.7 billion valuation a month ago.

Similarly, space tech funding has slowed, per Crunchbase data. Last year, nearly $9.2 billion in funding went to the sector, but this year has seen only about $5 billion.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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