Amidst Global Interest in Moon Exploration, Funding Represents One of the Largest Venture Investments in a U.S.-based Company Focused on Innovating Cislunar Space
GOLDEN, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lunar Outpost, a global leader in commercial planetary mobility, today announced a $12 million seed funding round led by Explorer 1 Fund with participation from Promus Ventures, Space Capital, Type One Ventures and Cathexis Ventures. The capital will be used to launch a new class of autonomous lunar rovers, deploy its robotics in additional environments, and invest in new technologies to improve its existing platforms. Explorer 1 Fund’s Daniel Kleinman and Promus Ventures Partner Gareth Keane also joined Lunar Outpost’s Board of Directors.
With the promise of decades of safe travel to the Moon and the rise of commercialized space, society looks to expand both human and robotic operations into the solar system, igniting a global demand for an extended lunar presence. Countries are racing to set up lunar bases to continue the critical research and leverage the Moon’s resources to establish a new paradigm of value generation in space. Lunar Outpost is developing and implementing technology that enables a sustainable presence in cislunar space – the only company with two fully funded commercial rover missions to the Moon.
“We’re living at a time where dependable and repeatable commercial access to the lunar surface with lunar landers is a reality. Lunar Outpost is sprinting alongside leading commercial, government, and research organizations towards the Moon, soon to be one of the few organizations operating systems on three planetary bodies,” said Lunar Outpost founder and CEO Justin Cyrus. “Prior to this investment, we were working with one round of angel funding – practically boot-strapped – yet the team contracted two lunar missions and has seen 6X growth in revenue compared to last year. Our growth and today’s funding news showcases the confidence from our customers and investors that Lunar Outpost is the global leader in commercial planetary robotics.”
Lunar Outpost’s technologies have both Earth and space applications, providing “mobility as a service” on the Moon to companies, researchers, governments, and universities. Its modular autonomous rovers and service-based business model drastically lower the cost to explore space, build interplanetary infrastructure, and harvest the vast resources of space. Current offerings include:
- Mobile Autonomous Prospecting Platform (MAPP): The first debuted commercial lunar prospector, a robotic vehicle designed to explore and investigate key resources and characteristics on lunar surfaces. In 2023, the MAPP rover will provide mobility too Nokia’s LTE/4G with Intuitive Machines to build, integrate and test the first-ever LTE/4G network on the surface of the Moon. MAPP was also selected by NASA’s PRISM program for the Lunar Vertex Mission to the Moon in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to explore the mysterious Reiner Gamma region of the lunar surface in early 2024.
- Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE): Humanity’s first-ever successful demonstration of how space resources can be used to fuel further exploration in space and sustain human life on another planet. MOXIE contributed to the first demonstration of space resource utilization on another planet by creating oxygen from the atmosphere of Mars.
- Canary Industrial-Grade Environmental Monitors: Continuous smart IoT devices customizable for PM 2.5, tVOC, O3, NO2, CH4, CO, meteorological data and much more. Lunar Outpost is currently producing and operating thousands of Canary devices that have collected over 35 billion data points through its web-based Canary dashboard.
“We are at a key inflection point in the space economy. With launch costs continuing to decrease, there is an increase in international commercial space activity, opening up opportunities to invest in growing categories like lunar infrastructure,” said Daniel Kleinmann of Explorer 1 Fund. “The research and data Lunar Outpost’s rovers provide will act as an important catalyst for building out this infrastructure. This investment is one of our firm’s largest to date and Lunar Outpost will now be the most highly financed U.S. startup focused on cislunar space. The groundwork their team is doing – collecting samples of Lunar Regolith – is essential as we look toward utilizing the resources the Moon has to offer.”
The Moon is now a marketplace. According to the SpaceTech Industry 2021 report, there are more than 10,000 private space tech companies in the U.S. These companies are eager to monetize and benefit from the abundant, usable lunar resources – many not-yet-discovered – including building materials, fuel, water and oxygen. Production of small lunar landers has exponentially increased over the last few years. According to the Moon Market Analysis, 70 commercial missions are scheduled within the next decade, with at least 14 lunar landings planned in the next three years. This deluge of small lunar landers is driven by significant investment from NASA through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program (CLPS). As part of the program, Lunar Outpost was awarded the first-ever contract from NASA for the collection and commercialization of Lunar Regolith from the lunar surface.
“As the U.S. government deepens support for commercial space activity, Lunar Outpost has emerged as a leader in advancing the lunar economy. The company competes for lunar missions alongside companies both large and small; with its rovers and rover platforms winning bids at a remarkable rate,” said Promus Ventures Partner Gareth Keane. “We’ve been following Lunar for years and have been incredibly impressed by how they have used their terrestrial success as a springboard to finance and advance their technology to support lunar ambitions and gain attention and respect from NASA.”
Lunar Outpost’s management team assembles top talent from leading organizations and institutions in the space arena. Over the next year, the company plans to take advantage of a growing space ecosystem by rapidly expanding its manufacturing and engineering facilities in the greater Denver area, lunar test facilities, and overseas locations.
About Lunar Outpost
Founded in 2017, Lunar Outpost is an industry leader in commercial space robotics, lunar surface mobility, and in-situ resource utilization. From our terrestrial product lines revolutionizing the air quality sector to the creation of oxygen on Mars, our impact spans the solar system. Our flagship rover, the Mobile Autonomous Prospecting Platform, will be the first commercial rover to the lunar South Pole in 2023. Find out more at: lunaroutpost.com. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.
About Explorer 1 Fund
Explorer 1 Fund is a venture capital fund that invests in private companies that are fundamental to the success and growth of the new space economy. As we explore this frontier, we will unearth secrets to advance humanity.
About Promus Ventures
Promus Ventures invests in early-stage deep tech startups solving complex problems to advance everyday lives across the world. Since 2012, the firm has invested in 95+ portfolio investments across the US, EU, UK, and New Zealand, and has offices in Chicago, San Francisco and Luxembourg. Promus Ventures’ other announced space and geospatial investments include Rocket Lab, ICEYE, Spire, Mapbox, Isotropic Systems, Mangata Networks, The Exploration Company and others. Some of Promus Ventures’ other leading portfolio investments include Whoop, AngelList, Bellabeat, Swift Navigation, Halter, Cobalt Robotics, Diligent Robotics and others.