The aerospace company Firefly Aerospace, which was founded in 2017 by Ukrainian entrepreneur Max Polyakov, announced the closing of the third tranche of Series C investments at the company's preliminary valuation of $1.5 billion.
During the round, existing investors such as AE Industrial Partners invested, as well as new ones, including Mitsui & Co. Polyakov's company raised $300 million in investment starting in February 2023. Firefly Aerospace plans to finally close the Series C round in the near future.
“We have been successful in raising funds at an elevated valuation amid a challenging market environment due to our focus on manufacturing and execution,” said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace.. “Following our recent success with the ground-breaking launch of the Victus Nox mission by the US Space Force, we have seen increased interest from new investors.”
Firefly Aerospace was founded by Ukrainian Max Polyakov in 2017 after buying out another bankrupt aerospace company. Firefly Aerospace focused on the US market and cooperation with NASA, at the same time it had a research center in the Ukrainian Dnipro. In November 2021, the US Committee on Foreign Investments sent Polyakov, who owned 58% of the company's shares, a letter demanding that he sell his share due to concerns about US national security – the US government was afraid of losing valuable technologies in a country that has been at war since 2014. Polyakov agreed to the terms, transferring his shares to the company's CEO Tom Markusik for just $1.
The company is doing quite well now, working closely with NASA and the US aerospace sector in general. In September 2023, Firefly Aerospace conducted a successful launch of its Alpha rocket as part of the Victus Nox mission commissioned by the US Space Force (USSF). This was already the third successful launch of the Alpha rocket.