This financing was preceded by a US$40 million second round, which we’d reported earlier. New Enterprise Associate, the big Silicon Valley venture firm was behind that earlier round. It’s no surprise, then, that ProtoStar is on steroids; we’ve written before about how NEA likes to make really big bets.
The company’s plan is to build a three-satellite constellation, on the hunch that the home market in China and elsewhere in Asia is underserved — but the system will take time to build. ProtoStar has signed a deal with China Telecommunications Broadcast Satellite Corp. and Space Systems/Loral to help it launch the satellite, renamed ProtoStar I, by early 2008. Then, you’ve got to more satellites to launch.
The most recent financing consists of $160 million of convertible debt, and $50 million in capital.