An image from one of the company’s satellites shows Lower Manhattan in New York City.
Satellite imagery and data specialist Planet began trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the latest space company to debut after closing a SPAC deal.
“We have a strong business that’s growing well … and what’s been most exciting about this whole process of going public is that I think there’s increasing awareness of the data set that we’re generating from space and what impact it can have,” Planet CFO and COO Ashley Johnson told CNBC.
Planet trades under the ticker PL, with shares previously listed under the special purpose acquisition company dMY Technology Group IV. The company has about 190 satellites in orbit, and recently unveiled plans for a new line of satellites called Pelican to further bolster its fleet.
The stock rose 2% from its previous close of $10.81 a share.
Closing its merger nets Planet more than $590 million in gross proceeds, with capital from dMY as well as a PIPE round – or private investment in public equity – led by BlackRock and joined by Google, Koch, and Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures. After SPAC transaction fees and paying off debt, Johnson said Planet will have more than $500 million on its balance sheet.
“We estimate that for operating capital we need about $200 million over the next few years until we get to cashflow breakeven, and so that gives us a sizable war chest to really think about strategic moves,” Johnson said.
Johnson emphasized that Planet will use the remaining $300 million to take advantage of “consolidation in the industry or other opportunities that may present themselves.”
Planet and dMY closed the merger with a 2% redemption ratio, which represents the percentage of shares that investors redeem prior to closing of an acquisition.
Cofounder and CEO Will Marshall
Planet took the additional step of registering as a Public Benefit Corporation, or PBC, which requires the company have a specific purpose statement on how the for-profit entity is benefiting the public. Planet’s public benefit purpose is “to accelerate humanity to a more sustainable, secure and prosperous world by illuminating environmental and social change,” the company said.
“The fact that we’re going public is not changing the core mission of the business,” Johnson said.
The company’s imagery feeds into a data index that Planet says makes the Earth “searchable” for its more than 600 customers. Planet’s customer contracts are set up as subscriptions, with 90% of those recurring annual contracts. Its existing customers are largely split between four sectors — civil, agriculture, defense and intelligence, and mapping — and it generated $113 million in revenue last year.
Planet aims to be profitable on an adjusted EBITDA basis by early 2025, and grow its annual revenue to nearly $700 million by early 2026.
It joins a trend of space companies going public through SPAC deals, with Virgin Galactic the first of the recent generation in 2019. Several have closed and begun trading — including Astra, AST SpaceMobile, Rocket Lab, Spire Global, BlackSky, Momentus, and Redwire — with others having merger agreements in place – including Virgin Orbit , Satellogic, and Terran Orbital.