Apex's $16M Series A funding round, which brings the company's total funding to over $27M, was led by venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz and Shield Capital. Apex will use the additional funding to open a new, 50,000 sq ft production facility in Los Angeles dedicated to serial bus manufacturing. This investment and the new factory will allow the company to expand its production rate and further reduce lead times for its customers.
Apex builds productized satellite buses, starting with their flagship Aries platform, a 100kg bus capable of supporting up to 100kg of payload mass. Apex buses are manufactured at scale and can be configured with different performance packages, enabling Apex customers to leverage the benefits of serial production for varied mission needs.
Apex also announced the list of customers flying on its first Aries satellite bus, set to launch on SpaceX's Transporter 10 in Q1 2024. The satellite will host missions for three customers. Orbit Fab, Ubotica, and a Tier-1 Defense Contractor are all flying as payloads on Apex's first mission, named "Call to Adventure". All three payloads will inhabit the same satellite bus, running a set of missions that include proximity operations, edge computation, and communications.
"We are thrilled our first mission will enable a major defense prime as well as two commercial companies to get their payloads into orbit. As we serve the needs of both government and commercial entities, we could not imagine a better pairing of investors in this latest capital infusion than our two co-leads, the number one venture firm in Silicon Valley and the top government-focused venture firm," said Ian Cinnamon, Chief Executive Officer at Apex.
This multi-customer, hosted payload mission will be a one-off, unique arrangement for Apex's first launch, allowing Apex to validate its Aries platform while meeting the needs of its customers. Typically, Apex buses are delivered for dedicated customer use either for single-spacecraft missions or constellations. Apex is under contract to deliver multiple buses to customers in 2024 following this inaugural mission.
"We are excited to build Factory One, our new production facility for scaled manufacturing of satellite buses. Factory One will be our first major investment in the infrastructure to build tens, and eventually hundreds, of satellites per year," said Max Benassi, Apex Chief Technology Officer.
The executive team, Ian Cinnamon and Max Benassi, lean on their extensive experience across aerospace, dual use, and deep technology companies to bring their vision of Apex to life. Ian, Apex's CEO, previously led his venture-backed company Synapse through its growth and acquisition by Palantir. CTO Max previously scaled aerospace manufacturing at SpaceX before operating as Director of Engineering at Astra.
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