Going public is becoming less necessary for companies to raise significant funding, according to Prasad.
SpaceX is an example of how the venture capital industry, as well as the private market, continues to change, in Prasad’s view. Private investors used to jump into companies very early and sell at the earliest opportunity, he says. Instead, as companies stay private longer, and with more access to private capital, companies have the upper hand in choosing what those exits look like.
SpaceX is “like Airbnb and others, where they are able to say ‘we are raising capital and this is what is going to look like,'” Prasad said.
The three current shareholders told CNBC they remain confident Musk will take SpaceX public at some point. But a former shareholder, who also spoke to CNBC on condition of anonymity, expressed doubt over Musk’s willingness to test the public markets’ waters again. (The former investor disclosed that the main impetus for selling their shares several years ago was getting money out.)
“He’s always made the moves to take it public but called the Tesla shareholders ‘millions of little tyrants’ who would never let him go to Mars if SpaceX were public,” the former investor said.
Musk may be at loggerheads with Wall Street now, but these current investors are betting that will fade in the coming years. Just one thing first: Colonize Mars.