Virgin Galactic’s Upcoming IPO is Groundbreaking for Astronauts and Family Office Investors Alike
Per Wimmer, Founder of Wimmer Family Office
Sept 13. 2019 Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is on its way to becoming the first publicly traded space tourism company in the world. The move puts Branson ahead of fellow billionaires with their own space technology companies. Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin are still privately funded.
The Virgin Galactic team announced earlier this year that former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya would be acquiring a stake and helping it get listed on the New York Stock Exchange through a special purpose vehicle named Social Capital Hedosophia. The listing is expected to inject $800 million into Branson’s ambitious space tourism company.
While the listing opens up an exciting sector for family office investors and money managers for the first time, potential astronauts on Virgin’s upcoming maiden flight to space are just as excited.
“Things have been going well and according to plan,” says Danish space advocate, entrepreneur and founder of Wimmer Family Office, Per Wimmer. He is a Virgin Galactic founding astronaut, which means he could be one of the first few on the spacecraft when it is ready for commercial launches. “We now seem closer to a launch than we’ve ever been before. I’ve been hopeful for a long time, so if the launch could happen by the end of next year that would be wonderful.”
Wimmer says by going public, Virgin Galactic could find it easier to raise capital in the future, which is a hopeful sign for the space tourism industry. However, he also adds that the move doesn’t change much for him in the short term. “There’s already a plan and target in place and safety is, of course, a top priority,” he says. Wimmer has been waiting for the company to complete trials and prepare the mission since 2007.