Virgin Orbit isn’t slowing down after joining the exclusive club of small launch companies that have made it to orbit – the company just announced that it’s flying a payload on behalf of customer the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNAF). This is the first ever satellite being put up by the Dutch Ministry of Defense, and it’s a small satellite that will act as a test platform for a number of different communications experiments.
The satellite is called ‘BRIK-II’ – not because it’s the second of its kind, but rather because it’s named after Brik, the first airplane ever owned and operated by the RNAF. This mission is one of Virgin Orbit’s first commercial operations after its successful test demonstration, and will fly sometime later this year. It’s also being planned as a rideshare mission, with other payloads expected to join – likely from the U.S. Department of Defense, which is working with Virgin Orbit’s dedicated U.S. defense industry subsidiary VOX Space on planning what they’ll be adding to the mission load out.
This upcoming mission is actually a key demonstration of a number of Virgin Orbit’s unique advantages in the launch market. For one, it’ll show how the U.S. DOD and its ally defense agencies can work together in the space domain when launching small communications satellites. Virgin Orbit is also going to use the mission as an opportunity to show off its “late-load integration” capabilities – effectively, how it can add a payload to its LauncherOne rocket just prior to launch.
For this particular flight, there’s no real reason to do a late-load integration, since there’s plenty of lead time, but part of Virgin’s appeal is being able to nimbly add satellites to its rocket just before the carrier jet that flies it to its take-off altitude leaves the runway. Demonstrating that will go a long way to help illustrate how it differentiates its services from others in the launch market including Rocket Lab and SpaceX.
Earlier today, Qualtrics dropped a new S-1 filing, this time detailing its proposed IPO pricing. That means we can now get a good look at how much the company may be worth when it goes public later this month.
The debut has been one TechCrunch has been looking forward to since the company announced that it would be spun out from its erstwhile corporate parent, SAP. In 2019, the Germany-based enterprise giant SAP snatched up Qualtrics for $ 8 billion just before it was to go public.
Qualtrics is either worth less than we would have guessed, or its first IPO range feels light.
That figure provides a good marker for how well SAP has done with the deal and how much value Qualtrics has generated in the intervening years. Keep in mind, however, that the value of software companies has risen greatly in the last few years, so the numbers we’ll see below benefit from a market-wide repricing of recurring revenue.
Qualtrics estimates that it may be worth $ 22 to $ 26 per share when it goes public. Is that a lot? Let’s find out.
Qualtrics’ first IPO range
First, scale. Qualtrics is selling just under 50 million shares in its public offering. As you can math out, at more than $ 20 per share, the company is looking to raise north of $ 1 billion.
After going public, Qualtrics anticipates having 510,170,610 shares outstanding, inclusive of its 7.4 million underwriter option. Using that simple share count, Qualtrics would be worth $ 11.2 billion to $ 13.3 billion.
I'm always a little skeptical when someone really successful has a personal philosophy that ends up getting picked up and endlessly over-analyzed by business blogs everywhere. The two I see most frequently are Jeff Bezos' "Regret Minimization Framework" and Elon Musk's "First Principles".
I've read a bit about the the former, but I've never read much about First Principles until today. I have to say, I wish I had read about it earlier, and I'm going to be reading a lot more about it in the coming days.
A good example is the difference between a cook and a chef. The cook follows recipes, but the chef creates recipes. The latter is much more difficult of course, and it requires experimentation and failure, but also the opportunity to create something new and amazing.
Anyway, if you've never dug in to the topic, I'd encourage you to read about it a little more.
Influitive CEO Mark Organ was feeling haggard. He’d just raised a seed round for the 12-person marketing technology startup and was rapidly building out his sales department.
Read more here.
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