WASHINGTON — German laser communications company Mynaric performed an initial public offering of shares on the Nasdaq exchange Nov. 12, raising up to $75.9 million to fund its growth.

The company, which already trades on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany, sold four million “American Depository Shares,” which represent one million ordinary shares of stock, at $16.50 per share. With an overallotment option of up to 600,000 additional shares, Mynaric expects to raise up to $75.9 million.

The shares, trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol MYNA, closed up $2.75, or 16.7%, at the end of its first day of trading Nov. 12.

Bulent Altan, chief executive of Mynaric, cited several reasons for selling shares on a U.S. exchange. “For a stock it’s quite important to be traded in a stock exchange that is more of a home to people who follow your industry,” he said in a Nov. 12 interview. “I think the space industry has been followed by Americans a lot closer.”

Being on a U.S. exchange also puts it closer to customers, including U.S. government agencies. “I think the U.S. government definitely looks favorably toward companies that have more U.S. involvement than less so,” he said.

Tina Ghataore, chief commercial officer of Mynaric, said the funds will go towards several efforts, including sales and marketing as well as expanding manufacturing capabilities in the United States “to really cater to the security aspects of some of our government customer pursuits that we’re doing.”

“As a hardware provider, we have to understand the sensibilities of our customers,” Altan said. That includes, for U.S. government customers, keeping the electronics supply chain with the country.

While Mynaric expands its presence in the United States, from the Nasdaq listing to doing business with government customers, Altan said he did not expect Mynaric to become a wholly American company. “We are a multinational company, and we wave the German flag as much as the U.S. flag,” he said. “There is a fantastic workforce in Germany that we are unlocking for the U.S. customer,” particularly in optics.

Mynaric has won several new customers. Capella revealed Nov. 9 that it had ordered up to 20 of Mynaric’s CONDOR Mk3 optical communications terminals for its synthetic aperture radar satellites, allowing those satellites to relay data through the Space Development Agency’s upcoming Transport Layer Tranche 1 constellation. Northrop Grumman announced Nov. 1 that it selected Mynaric as a “strategic supplier” for laser communications equipment.

Ghataore said the Capella deal shows the broadening interest in laser communications systems. “As we look at some of the Earth observation companies, which have some smaller constellations, we’re providing the products to move their data to then be interoperable with some of the larger communication constellations,” she said. “We’ve gone beyond just a communication constellation market to really helping the Earth observation community.”

“I’d say 2022 is a pivotal year for optical communications,” Altan said. “I think that’s when a bunch of potential commercial customers will make their decisions.”

He added the company is seeing growing interest in its laser communications products outside of low Earth orbit satellite systems, from terrestrial applications out to cislunar space. “The market is just creating itself right in front of our eyes, just as we expected.”

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...