- Relativity Space, which builds 3D printed rockets, was last valued at $4.2 billion last year.
- Fidelity’s massive mutual fund, Contrafund, recently marked down its biggest stake in the company by 21%.
- Fidelity has not marked down the value of SpaceX, Relativity’s much larger competitor.
The mutual fund giant Fidelity has slashed the value of some of its holdings in Relativity Space, an aerospace startup that makes 3D printed rockets. The SpaceX-rival was last valued at $4.2 billion in a funding round last year.
Fidelity’s mutual fund Contrafund— a $110 billion fund that invests in a vast swath of private and public companies— marked down its holdings of Relativity’s series D shares by around 21%, from $22.83 per share at the end of December to $17.96 per share at end of March, according to recent filings. The fund decreased the value of the smaller tranche of series E shares it purchased last year by a more modest 7%.
Neither Fidelity nor Relativity responded to requests for comment so the reasons for the decline or why the shares are valued differently are unclear, but it is possible Fidelity sold a portion of its shares. It’s rare for asset managers like Fidelity not to equally value shares of a single company even if they are from different fundraising series.
Relativity was founded in 2015 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, two young aerospace engineers who worked at Blue Origin and SpaceX, respectively. Since then it has raised $1.3 billion dollars in funding from marquee venture and private equity firms including BlackRock, Coatue, General Catalyst, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Global. In 2021, the startup raised $650 million in funding led by Fidelity.
Late stage companies such as Instacart and Stripe have seen their valuations fall this year as publicly traded tech stocks have plummeted. Space companies such as Virgin Galactic have also been battered, with that company’s stock down more than 40% this year after going public via
Assessing the value of privately held companies is more difficult since most shareholders do not publicly disclose change in valuations. Fidelity is a notable exception, which is why it provides a rare window into how late-stage startups are valued.
It is worth nothing Fidelity has not marked down the value of its holdings in Elon Musk-backed Space X, Relativity’s much larger competitor.
Ellis, who is CEO, has said the company is still on track to complete its inaugural launch early this year, blasting Relativity’s 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket into space. He also told Bloomberg earlier this year that is he is not interested in a SPAC.
“Some others tried SPACs when they were hot, but we were able to get private rounds done by high-quality investors,” Ellis said. “We’re focused on staying private as long as we can, and capital availability is high.”