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SpaceX will take its Starlink internet service public after its cash flows become more predictable, CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday.
The world’s richest man laid out the loose criteria for a Starlink IPO on Twitter as SpaceX worked to expand the satellite internet network, which has more than 10,000 users in the US and abroad.
Musk said the offering would come “once we can predict cash flow reasonably well” for Starlink, which he described as a “staggeringly difficult technical & economic endeavor.” He didn’t offer a specific timeline for the potential listing.
“SpaceX needs to pass through a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable,” Musk said in a Twitter exchange early Tuesday morning. “Every new satellite constellation in history has gone bankrupt. We hope to be the first that does not.”
Starlink connects customers to the internet through a network of satellites that SpaceX has launched above the Earth. The service launched a “Better Than Nothing” beta test in October, charging users $99 a month plus $499 for the equipment needed to connect to the network.
Musk has previously indicated that privately held SpaceX would eventually look to spin off Starlink as a public company after its revenue growth becomes “reasonably predictable.”
The apparent strength of Starlink’s business was helping to drive up the price of SpaceX’s shares on the private market last fall, as The Post reported at the time. But Musk pledged in a September tweet that small investors would get “top priority” in the Starlink offering.
Musk owns about half of SpaceX, a stake that accounts for close to $19 billion of his $206 billion net worth, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.