SPCE Stock – Former Virgin Galactic CFO Joins Satellite Observation Startup
The former finance chief of space-travel company
Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc.,
which went public in 2019, joined a satellite observation startup to aid its growth.
San Francisco-based Capella Space Corp. on Wednesday named
as its first chief financial officer. Mr. Campagna, who joined the company in March, previously served as Virgin Galactic’s CFO for about three years until February. In that role, Mr. Campagna oversaw the firm’s 2019 acquisition by a special-purpose acquisition company. He joined Virgin in 2015 from aviation company ICON Aircraft Inc.
Capella Space, which was founded in 2016, provides on-demand satellite images of forest fires, oil spills or other special events on the planet to its customers. Capella uses what’s known as a synthetic aperture radar, which captures images at night and through cloud cover, smoke or fog, according to the company. Most of its clients are government agencies, such as the Pentagon’s National Reconnaissance Office, though it also has commercial customers.
Mr. Campagna is joining Capella as it looks to expand its commercial operations, executives said. The company, after several years of development, launched its first operational satellite in August, said Chief Executive Payam Banazadeh. Capella currently has three satellites in orbit and has four more planned for 2021.
The company began to sell its imagery to clients in January, Mr. Banazadeh said. “It’s a bit like a flip of a switch for us, I would say, in the last four or five months,” he said, referring to the shift from testing its technology to selling it.
Capella, which is venture-backed, declined to share information about its financial performance. It has raised approximately $77 million from investors as of April 2020, according to data provider PitchBook Data Inc. Capella said it has raised $96 million to date but declined to provide details.
Capella typically partners with companies such as SpaceX,
space-transportation company, to launch its satellites, the company said. SpaceX, whose official name is Space Exploration Technologies Corp., didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Campagna said one of his top priorities in the new role will be to expand the company’s accounting team and strengthen its budgeting, forecasting and revenue-collections capabilities. Asked whether he is preparing Capella for a potential public listing, Mr. Campagna said the company is exploring options to raise additional capital in the public and private markets.
“The key focus is around building out a team that can support whatever path we choose,” Mr. Campagna said. Capella currently has 109 employees, three of whom work in finance.
As Capella’s first CFO, Mr. Campagna will be tasked with ensuring the company has a strong finance division in place as it starts to generate more revenue, said Matt O’Connell, operating partner at venture firm DCVC, an early investor in Capella. Mr. O’Connell declined to say how much his company has invested in Capella.
Mr. O’Connell, who also serves on Capella’s board, described investors’ enthusiasm for the industry by noting that space-related technology underpins many of the products that consumers use daily, including navigation systems in their cars or on their smartphones.
“Space is just part of our lives these days,” he said.
Write to Kristin Broughton at [email protected] Zoom.com
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Appeared in the April 15, 2021, print edition as ‘Former Virgin Galactic CFO Joins New Player in Satellites.’