Though it is still several years in the future, SpaceX founder Elon Musk says the space satellite internet company Starlink would eventually go public and be heavily targeted towards small retail investors.
What is SpaceX Starlink?
SpaceX is a private American space travel company founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Starlink represents Musk’s push to provide internet broadband from space. According to The Next Web, he aims to send about 12,000 satellites into low orbit by the year 2025. Providing high-speed internet worldwide is a part of this goal.
So far, SpaceX has successfully launched 700 Starlink satellites. For minimum basic operations, this is a sufficient number, and may be near the number required to roll out the service.
Musk and Starlink face competition from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is working on internet from space in his Project Kuiper. With $10 billion going into Project Kuiper, Bezos already has secured FCC approval for 3,236 internet satellites, but hasn’t launched any yet.
When is the SpaceX Starlink launch?
Musk told reporters in May (via CNBC) that Starlink had the potential to bring in $30 billion per year, which is around 10 times the highest annual revenue projected from its core rocket business.
In June, Motley Fool reported that Starlink is bringing in steady income with its launches. This is “helping advance the company's goal of establishing a space-based communications network that could be used in future efforts to get to the moon and beyond.”
CNBC reported in Aug. 2020 that close to 700,000 individuals had expressed interest in the Starlink internet service. Private beta testing began this summer, and public beta testing will likely follow.
When is the Starlink IPO?
Shotwell noted in Feb. 2020 (via TNW): “Right now we are a private company, but Starlink is the right kind of business that we can go ahead and take public.” The Starlink IPO is still several years off, though.
In 2018, Shotwell said (via CNBC) that SpaceX as a whole “can’t go public until we’re flying regularly to Mars.”
We will probably IPO Starlink, but only several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth & predictable. Public market does *not* like erratic cash flow haha. I’m a huge fan of small retail investors. Will make sure they get top priority. You can hold me to it.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 28, 2020
Musk himself tweeted on Sept. 28, referring to the eventual Starlink IPO. “We will probably IPO Starlink, but only several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth and predictable.” He referred to the public market’s dislike for “erratic growth.”
Can I buy Starlink stock?
Currently, Starlink is not a publicly traded entity. Musk (via Reuters) claimed to be “a huge fan of small retail investors” and that they will receive top priority when the company does go public.
SpaceX is a highly valuable private company, with a value of over $33.3 billion (via CNBC). Analysis group Equidate has reported that the company can access “an unlimited amount of funding” through the private market.