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Showing posts with the label Space

New SPAC Deals: Space Startups Rocket Lab, Spire Global

As usual, new weeks bring new SPAC merger deals and this new week has brought two new merger announcements, this time from the space industry. They are Rocket Lab , a well-known small satellite launch service provider, and Spire Global , a startup that specializes in the tracking of global data sets, e.g. maritime and aviation patterns, with the use of satellites in orbit. Rocket Lab Rocket Lab has announced an agreement to merge with Vector Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: VACQ), a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) sponsored by San Francisco-based investment firm Vector Capital.  Rocket Lab's merger deal will hand it over $320 million of cash held in trust by Vector Acquisition, plus a $470 million private-investment-in-public-equity (PIPE) round committed by investors including Vector Capital, BlackRock, and Neuberger Berman.  With the investors buying shares at $10 each, it implies a $4.1 billion valuation for Rocket Lab, 5.4x the satellite launch provider's projec

SpaceX Raises $850M, Valued At $74B: Report

Over the past few months, rumors have abounded that SpaceX was tapping into the market for new funds, despite having closed a $1.9 billion round, its largest single round ever, just in August last year. Now, it appears that those rumors have been substantiated, with CNBC reporting that SpaceX has raised a new round of $850 million that values the company at $74 billion. For its report, CNBC cites "people familiar with the financing". It's said that SpaceX raised its new funds by selling shares for $419.99 apiece, seemingly a nod to the $420-per-share Tesla takeover saga that got Elon Musk in hot water with regulators in 2018. SpaceX's last known funding round in 2020 valued it at $46 billion, so it appears that the company's valuation has now shot up by about 60% in less than a year. The new reported round comes a few months after SpaceX made history by being the first private company to send astronauts into orbit to the International Space Station (ISS). Spa

New SPAC Merger: Rocket Startup Astra

Every day or the other, there's likely a new SPAC merger to be announced. For those not in the know, SPACs refer to special-purpose acquisition companies, which are shell publicly-traded corporations with no operations designed to take existing companies public by merging with them. Just recently, the latest company to seal a SPAC deal to go public was the on-demand private aviation startup Wheels Up . Now, the next is also in the aviation and mechanical flight sector but even higher, being a rocket building startup named Astra, which has announced  a SPAC merger deal just roughly a year after emerging from stealth.  Astra will merge with Holicity Inc. (NASDAQ: HOL), a SPAC created by the telecom billionaire Craig McCaw. The merger deal values Astra at $2.1 billion, wherein up to $500 million in cash will be handed over to Astra, consisting of $300 million raised and held in trust by Holicity Inc. and an extra $200 million cash infusion committed by a group of investors led by the

SpaceX Plans All-Civilian Space Mission For This Year

After successfully launching and returning astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS) last year, it appears that the Elon Musk-led aerospace company SpaceX has its eyes set on making another record, this time organizing the first all-civilian crewed mission to the ISS. SpaceX has announced  plans to carry out the first all-civilian mission to space in the fourth quarter of 2021. The mission will be manned by four people led by Jared Isaacman, a billionaire tech entrepreneur who's the CEO of Shift4 Payments, a publicly-traded payments company. Isaacman is the one funding the mission and will select the other space tourists to ride with him. The mission, dubbed "Inspiration4" is planned to launch from the well-known Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on SpaceX's Falcon 9 launch vehicle and Dragon spacecraft. Isaacman and the crew that he's tagging along with will undergo commercial astronaut training by SpaceX to prepare

The First Private ISS Mission Seems Near

The International Space Station (ISS) is a modular space station in low Earth orbit that's famous across the globe. Every day, it travels around the globe, able to circle the whole Earth in the span of roughly 93 minutes. The ISS is governed by intergovernmental treaties and agreements, with the US at the forefront. Dozens of astronauts and cosmonauts as well as a few space tourists have gone to the ISS since it was launched in its current form in 1998. All of the missions to the ISS have been governmental and organized by the space agencies of various countries like the US, Russia, Japan, and Canada. Now, it appears that the first private mission to space is near, with the aerospace company Axiom Space having just announced  its private crew of four people that'll man the first private mission proposed to fly to the ISS.  The four people include an American, a Canadian, and a former Israeli Air Force pilot as passengers, and the fourth being Michael López-Alegría, a Spanish-Am

Starlink Rival OneWeb Raises $400M After Rescue From Bankruptcy

After emerging from bankruptcy with a joint rescue from the UK government and the Indian telecoms firm Bharti Global, OneWeb, a company seeking to build out a satellite internet network rivaling SpaceX's Starlink, has raised $400 million in new funding from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems, a subsidiary of the satellite communications provider EchoStar. With the fresh $400 million round, OneWeb has now raised a total of $1.4 billion after emerging from bankruptcy. SoftBank provided $350 million out of the $400 million round, returning as an investor in OneWeb after previously pumping $1 billion into the company before getting its investment wiped out by a bankruptcy. As it seems, SoftBank has much money to burn on OneWeb, returning to invest in the company after getting burned earlier. Before filing for bankruptcy, OneWeb had raised a whopping $3 billion in venture funding but didn't give much output for that huge amount. Now controlled by the UK government and Bharti Globa

SpaceX's Starlink Gets UK Greenlight

Starlink, the proposed satellite internet service from SpaceX, has received licensing approval from the UK's communications regulator, clearing the way for the venture to get into another major broadband market. An authorization for SpaceX's Starlink was granted in November, according to a statement from a spokesman at the UK Office of Communications (Ofcom). Going by local reports, Starlink has also received approval in other European countries including Greece, Germany, and Australia. The satellite internet service originates from the US where SpaceX is based and has begun tests in both the country and neighboring Canada. Starlink consists of a planned constellation of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit that'll beam internet access to the Earth by working in combination with ground transceivers. Already, SpaceX has launched more than 950 Starlink satellites into orbit out of a planned constellation of 42,000 such satellites, for which it's

Lockheed Martin Buys Aerojet Rocketdyne

The American aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin has announced that it's reached a definitive agreement to buy Aerojet Rocketdyne, a publicly-traded rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer, in a $5 billion deal. Lockheed Martin has agreed to pay $56 in cash for each share of Aerojet Rocketdyne, representing a 33% premium to the company's closing price on Friday, the 18th of December, 2020.  Under the terms of the purchase, $5 out of the $56 will go towards a special dividend to Aerojet's shareholders, leaving the remaining acquisition price at $51 per share and summing up to $4.4 billion. The special dividend will be paid to Aerojet's shareholders in March next year while the entire acquisition is expected to be completed in the first half of next year.  The $5 billion deal for Aerojet Rocketdyne represents one of the biggest acquisitions in the aerospace industry this year. It's the first major deal spearheaded by Lockheed's new CEO, Jim Taiclet,

SpaceX Shoots For $92B Valuation

The aerospace company SpaceX is seeking to raise a fresh big round of funding at a targeted valuation of up to $92 billion, Business Insider reports , citing "two people with knowledge of the deal". SpaceX just raised a $1.9 billion round at a valuation of $46 billion this August so a target to now double that valuation seems very ambitious. Since its inception, the company has raised a total of $5.4 billion in venture funding so it doesn't seem to have a problem attracting big investors. SpaceX is ramping up its Starlink satellite and Starship rocket programs so likely requires more capital to uphold those projects, which aren't currently generating revenue for the company. Just recently, the company flew its Starship rocket to its highest altitude yet in a test flight before it exploded during the process of landing back on Earth. Likewise, SpaceX is making significant progress on its Starlink satellite project and has launched nearly a thousand satellites out of

SpaceX Nabs $885M Starlink Aid From FCC

The aerospace company SpaceX has been awarded the sum of $885 million in federal subsidies from the US government under a program from the  US  Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  that doled out $9.2 billion in aid to dozens of companies for the deployment of  high-speed broadband internet service to underserved rural areas. The FCC awarded nearly $900 million in aid to SpaceX for its Starlink satellite internet network which is still in the works. Starlink consists of a planned constellation of 42,000 satellites that'll beam internet access to areas on Earth. So far, it's gotten approval from the FCC to launch 12,000 satellites and has launched nearly 1,000 satellites for the initial phase. Starlink satellite deployed over Earth. The Covid-19 pandemic this year has proved the importance of high-speed internet access as a utility, whereas rural areas in the US are usually underserved and don't have access to the high-speed internet access available in cities. For refe

Aevum Unveils Satellite-Launching Drone

Aevum, an Alabama-based aerospace startup, has unveiled a big autonomous drone that it aims to use to deliver satellites into space. The unveiling of the new drone comes after Aevum had secured contracts for 20 satellite missions from the US government that could be worth up to $986 million if fulfilled. Aevum's drone, named Ravn X is 80 ft. long, has a 60 ft. wingspan, is 18 ft. tall, and has a gross takeoff weight of 55,000 lbs. Aevum says it'll be 70% reusable out of the gate and will be up to 95% reusable 'in the near future'. The company says Ravn X uses the same jet fuel as a normal airplane and will be able to launch from any 1-mile runway. The design of the newly-unveiled drone was five years in the making, wherein Aevum worked from its headquarters in the state of Alabama to come up with the concept. Aevum is working to fulfill its first mission next year for the United States Space Force, wherein it's picked up an initial $4.9 million satellite launch con

Sequoia Bets $500M On SpaceX

This August, SpaceX raised $1.9 billion in new funding that was made known by filings with the US Securities and Exchanges Commission. The company didn't put out a formal press release regarding the round, leaving speculation as to who wrote the checks. Now, the news site The Information reports that Sequoia Capital led the round with a $500 million investment from its part. Sequoia is a big venture capital firm with billions of dollars of capital under its management so writing a $500 million check to SpaceX doesn't seem startling. Sequoia is, however, not much big into aerospace and high-tech companies like SpaceX, with most of its investments having gone to software-based companies. Sequoia is a storied venture capital firm that has clinched very successful exits on companies like Google, Instagram, Square, and Oracle. SpaceX seems to be the first aerospace company that the venture capital firm has ever backed. The $1.9 billion round that SpaceX raised in August pegged it

Relativity Space Nabs $500M Round

Relativity Space, a Los Angeles-based startup that's working on 3D-printed rockets, has announced that it's raised $500 million in Series D funding from a party of investors led by the hedge fund Tiger Global. Other notable participants in the round include General Catalyst, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, Mary Meeker's Bond, Playground Global, and entrepreneurs Mark Cuban and Spencer Rascoff (Zillow). The $500 million round represents one of the largest-ever single rounds for a space startup, on par with several rounds raised by the aerospace leader SpaceX. Although the valuation that came with the round isn't disclosed, previous reports that shed light on the funding round even before its formal announcement pegged the valuation at $2.3 billion. Relativity Space is a very notable company, given its work on 3D printing rockets and rocket parts. It's the first known company that's looking to 3D print the majority of an entire rocket, with an aim of making the rocket

SpaceX Set For Historic Crew Mission

  Astronauts Michael Hopkins (left) and Soichi Noguchi (right).  Photo credit: NASA After getting formally certified earlier this month by NASA for crew missions to and fro the International Space Station following the success of its recent pilot mission when it sent two astronauts to the ISS on the Falcon 9 in May and successfully returned them in August, the aerospace company SpaceX is set to perform another crew mission, this time with four astronauts that'll it send to the International Space Station aboard a Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon human spaceflight system on Sunday night. SpaceX is set to send four astronauts into space, three of whom are from America's NASA and one from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). They are by names Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi, heading on a mission to the ISS that'll last for six months.  The crew mission is the first out of three that are scheduled to take place over this year and the next. Sp

Astroscale Lands $51 Million Round

Nobu Okada, CEO, Astroscale. Photo credit: Tech In Asia Astroscale, a Japanese orbital debris removal company, has announced that it's secured $51 million in Series E funding led by investment firm aSTART, a funding round that brings the total amount of financing raised by the company to $191 million. Astroscale will use the new funding to further its business of helping space and satellite companies to recover orbital debris from space.  A significant problem for space exploration is the presence of debris from satellites or parts of satellites launched into space from earth and discarded after use or tests. Astroscale, now Japan's most funded private space venture, has stepped in to address that problem by looking to offer space debris removal missions. Astroscale was founded in 2013 and raised its first external funding round two years later. Most of the company's investors hail from Japan where it's based while also maintaining other offices in the US, UK, Israel, a

Momentus Eyes Reverse Listing

Mikhail Kokorich, Founder and CEO, Momentus. Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson on Flickr , licensed under Creative Commons Momentus, a space transportation company, is in discussions to go public by the way of a reverse merger with Stable Road Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), according to a report [paywall] from Bloomberg . Momentus is said to be targeting a valuation of nearly $1 billion from its reverse merger. Stable Road Acquisition Corp, the reported SPAC mergee, raised $172.5 million in its public market debut in November last year, money that'll be transferred to Momentus in the case of a merger. Momentus, a Y Combinator alum, is a space transportation company with ambitions of providing “last-mile delivery” in space by transporting satellites and cargo to specific orbits using a specially made vehicle named the  Vigoride . The Vigoride is akin to a delivery truck that'll bring a package to its final destination after a large cargo aircraft de

SpaceX Wins US Deal To Build Satellites

Photo credit: NASA Johnson Aerospace company SpaceX has won a $149 million contract to build missile-tracking satellites for the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA), marking the aerospace company's first-ever such government contract to build satellites. The contract stipulates that SpaceX will build four overhead persistent infrared imaging (OPIR) satellites that'll be able to "provide missile tracking data for hypersonic glide vehicles and the next generation of advanced missile threats". SpaceX won its contract along with L3Harris Technologies, another defense contracting giant that'll itself also build four missile-tracking satellites for the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA). L3Harris is, however, charging a substantially higher $193 million for its portion of the contract. SpaceX will construct the missile tracking satellites at its assembly plant in Redmond, Washington, where it currently assembles its Starlink internet satellites. The company will build

Virgin Orbit Rows With OneWeb

Photo credit: Virgin Orbit Virgin Orbit, a satellite launch provider that's part of the Virgin Group, is in an apparent row over monetary payments with OneWeb, a satellite internet operator being bailed out by investors after bankruptcy . Virgin Orbit is seeking a $46 million payout from OneWeb after the company canceled dozens of launches that it had ordered from Virgin back in 2015. Virgin Orbit is demanding that OneWeb pays it a termination fee that was agreed as part of the contract between both parties. OneWeb fell into bankruptcy earlier this year even after raising up to $3 billion in private funding from investors including Virgin Group. Following its bankruptcy, a rescue package for the company was put in place by the U.K. Government and Indian telecom company Bharti Global, with both parties agreeing to pony up $500 million each for respective 45% stakes in OneWeb as part of a restructuring. Previous OneWeb investors apparently lost significantly, with Bharti and the U.K.

Brief: SpaceX Nears $2 Billion Raise

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Photo credit: Tesla Owners Club Belgium on Flickr , under Creative Commons license Aerospace company SpaceX is close to finalizing $2 billion in new funding, up from an initial target of $1 billion, according to a report [paywall] from Bloomberg . According to Bloomberg , Fidelity Investments is a major participant in the SpaceX's new fund-raise, which would value it at $46 billion post-money. Notably, SpaceX is ramping up its Starlink internet program , an area where the funding comes in handy. The company is reported to have already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the program. Before now, SpaceX is known to have raised about $3.5 billion in total funding since its inception.

SpaceX's Next Crewed Mission Set For October

Photo credit: SpaceX NASA and SpaceX have announced a specific date for the next crewed mission that'll see SpaceX launch more astronauts into space, after getting certified with the recent successful launch and return of NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. On the 23rd of October, SpaceX will undertake its first formal operational crewed mission where it'll send three NASA astronauts as well as another from Japan to the International Space Station onboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft. The astronauts are by names Michael Hopkins, who'll be commander; Victor Glover, pilot; Shannon Walker, mission specialist; and Soichi Noguchi, a mission specialist for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). They'll be heading to the ISS for a six-month mission aboard an orbiting laboratory. The next mission is scheduled to takeoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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Okta Buys Cloud Security Startup Auth0 For $6.5B

A very big new acquisition has happened in the tech industry, with Okta (NASDAQ: OKTA), the publicly-traded cloud identity and access management software provider, announcing an agreement to buy Auth0, a fellow cloud identity software provider, for a price of $6.5 billion to be paid all with shares. A $6.5 billion exit for Auth0 marks a major win for the startup scene in Seattle, the tech hub where Auth0 is based and also a major win for the company's backers and investors. Auth0 last raised venture funding last year in July with a $120 million Series F round that valued the company at $1.9 billion. Now, it's about to sell for more than triple that amount. Auth0 has raised more than $330 million in total venture funding, with investors including the likes of Salesforce Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Telstra Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and DTCP. Salesforce Ventures led Auth0's most recent $120 million Series F round. With its acquisition of a fellow cloud identity a

Exec Pay: Coinbase CEO Earned $60M In 2020

The popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase recently released its S-1 filing to the SEC in preparation for a public offering that's expected to come soon, with the S-1 filing providing a peek into its financials and operational stats with information not publicly known before. The core information to have been revealed by Coinbase's S-1 filing is that the company is very profitable, posting a net income of $322 million on $1.28 billion in revenue in 2020. The popular crypto exchange swung from a $30 million loss in the previous year 2019 and grew its annual revenue from $533.7 million to $1.28 billion over the year. Among the noteworthy disclosures to have come from Coinbase's S-1 filing is that the company's founder and CEO Brian Armstrong pulled in a big compensation package of nearly $60 million in 2020, precisely $59.5 million.  Brian Armstrong's $59.5 million pay package consisted of a base salary of $1 million, stock options awards of $56.7 million, and $1.

Peter Thiel Cashes Out Big From Palantir

After taking his data analytics and mining company, Palantir, public last year, it seems that Peter Thiel is keen on cashing out significantly from his stake in the company after getting an opportunity to do so on the public markets.  Thiel founded and helped build Palantir from the ground up into a data analytics powerhouse with annual sales of over $1 billion.   Palantir stayed as a private company for 17 years before hitting the public markets. According to regulatory filings and records , Peter Thiel has sold over $780 million of Palantir shares since the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in September 2020.  Thiel's largest single sale transaction was an offloading of 20 million shares for $504.8 million on the 19th of February, 2020. His second-largest was the sale of 23 million shares in a transaction netting around $236 million on the 30th of September, 2020, which was the very day Palantir began trading on the NYSE. Altogether, Thiel has netted mor

Deal: Twilio Bets $750M On Mobile Comms Provider Syniverse

Twilio, the publicly-traded cloud communications company, has sought to strategically team up with an old-guard provider of mobile and wireless communications technology named Syniverse, with a formal business partnership just  announced between both parties that'll see Twilio invest up to $750 million for a minority stake in Syniverse under its terms. Twilio has agreed to invest up to $750 million in cash for a minority stake in Syniverse, buying the stake from the company's current owner which is the private equity firm Carlyle Group. The partnership between Twilio and Syniverse will see both companies enter into a major business partnership that entails a wholesale agreement whereby Syniverse will process, route and deliver application-to-person (A2P) messages originating and/or terminating between Twilio’s customers and mobile network operators. On Syniverse's end of the deal, the company is getting a business boost by providing services for Twilio which is one of the

American Drone Maker Skydio Raises $170M, Valued At $1B+

Skydio, an American startup that makes autonomous drones, has closed a new funding round of $170 million that values it above $1 billion. The round was led by the famous venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing backers Next47, IVP, and Linse Capital, plus a new investor UP.Partners. Andreessen Horowitz led the new Series D round for Skydio from its Growth Fund, and with it, Skydio has now raised a total of over $340 million in external funding and then with a $1 billion+ valuation that makes it the highest-valued drone startup in the US. It seems that Skydio has drawn wide investor attraction after the US government placed China's DJI on a blacklist last year. DJI made its mark as the biggest drone maker globally and the largest in the US market but got placed on a government Entity List last year that barred American companies from supplying it with components. The blacklist was instituted by the former Trump administration due to alleged ties to

IPO Chatter: Hot Cybersecurity Startup SentinelOne

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Carmaker Volvo To Go Fully Electric By 2030

The latest global automaker to commit to transitioning to a fully-electric production output in the future is Swedish carmaker Volvo, which has announced plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030. By then, the company says it intends to have phased out any car in its portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids, and transition to producing fully electric cars. The announcement of Volvo's grand plan comes a year after the company launched its first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge , around the globe, and with just one fully electric car in its product portfolio now, it's apparent that the automaker would need to put in hard work to achieve a fully-electric portfolio in nine years time. To work towards its goal, Volvo has announced that it'll roll out 'several' additional electric car models in the coming years, the word several making the number indistinct. The Swedish automaker is aiming for fully electric cars to make up half of

Velodyne Lidar's Founder Ousted, Fights Back

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2020: DraftKings Reports Strong Revenue Growth

DraftKings, a popular sports betting site in the US, has reported its earnings results for what's its first fiscal year as a publicly-traded company after going public through a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year. It reported $322 million in 2020 revenue, up 98% from the previous year. DraftKings' annual revenue soared high in 2020 compared to the past year as it capitalized on a stronger betting market spurred by the legalization of online sports betting in more American states for growth. The company also did well getting new customers in existing legalized sports betting markets in the US. For example, the state of Tennessee formally legalized mobile and online sports betting on the 1st of November, 2020 and saw DraftKings immediately swoop into the market. In just the first two months operating in the state, DraftKings processed over $300 million in bets, its earnings report noted. In 2021, DraftKings held successful launches in the states of

Smart TV Maker Vizio Files To Go Public

Vizio, a well-known maker of smart TVs and other complementary equipment such as soundbars, has filed an S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a public listing, seeking to do so for the second time after having previously filed to go public in 2015 but later withdrew its plan in lieu of a $2 billion sale agreement to a Chinese company that unfortunately didn't pan out. The market for technology IPOs has been very hot as of late and it seems that Vizio is coming in at the right time to capitalize on that hotness. A popular maker of smart TVs, Vizio has sold over 80 million TVs and 11 million soundbars since the company's inception, as indicated in its S-1 filing. The company sold 7.1 million TVs in 2020 alone. Vizio has strong revenues and is profitable, reporting $102 million in net income on over $2 billion in revenue in 2020. In the previous year, 2019, Vizio reported a net income of $23 million on $1.8 billion in revenue. Most of Vizio's revenue c