German space lasers company Mynaric CEO talks Nasdaq IPO, plans for growth

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  • German laser communications company Mynaric has recently been listed on the Nasdaq, and former SpaceX executive CEO Bullant Alton spoke to CNBC about the company’s US initial public offering.
  • Mynaric makes optical communications terminals, a device that uses a laser to send data from one point to another. Satellite companies are the firm’s target customer base.
  • Altan said Manarik decided to list on Nasdaq because “you have an investor base in the US that understands the space market and has been active in it for a long time.”

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German laser communications company Mynaric listed on Nasdaq last week, and former SpaceX executive CEO Bullant Alton spoke to CNBC about the company’s U.S. debut and plans for further growth.

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The company raised $75.9 million through its initial public offering, with a stock price of $16.50 per share. The stock is up slightly since then, closing Thursday at $18.19 per share.

Mynaric makes optical communications terminals, a device that uses a laser to send data from one point to another. Altan explained that Manarik’s target market is companies building satellite constellations, including broadband, Earth imagery, and more.

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“It’s not just a space net game; it’s almost a constellation net game,” Alton said, highlighting that most satellite companies are not public, citing SpaceX’s Starlink as a notable example of a constellation operated by a single firm. Giving in to what might one day be an IPO but isn’t there yet.

The company has not yet sent a full laser terminal into space, but has conducted flight tests of the aircraft which have been successful. Manarik expects to perform in the space in the second quarter of next year, but Alton said the schedule is “fluid” and depends on the company’s customers.

Altan said Manarik decided to list on Nasdaq because “you have an investor base in the US that understands the space market and has been active in it for a long time.”

“The whole space industry is coming to Europe, but in America it has established itself,” he said.

Alton — who spent more than a decade at SpaceX, most recently as vice president of satellite mission assurance — said that Elon Musk’s company Manarik is not a customer. SpaceX is “very vertically integrated,” Alton said, and the laser communications technology that the Starlink satellites are using is different from Manarik’s, making the customer relationship “less likely.”

“I think being a technology partner would be a better opportunity for us to explore,” Alton said of SpaceX. The company notably named former SpaceX vice president Hans Koenigsmann to join Miniarch’s supervisory board earlier this fall.

The second impetus for Mynaric’s listing was that its “customer base is now very US-focused,” said Alton — which includes companies such as Northrop Grumman and imagery start-up Capella.

“The government is indirectly buying so many laser communications terminals right now, by purchasing a high number of satellites with laser communications capability,” Alton said.

For now Mynaric is well capitalized, he said, and there is no “urgent need” to raise more money. It has a facility that can manufacture 400 laser terminals per year, but Manarik plans to increase this to 2,000 per year.

“The underlying technology is really mass production oriented,” Altan said.

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