Billionaire Sir Richard Branson is serious about space travel.\r\n\r\nBranson formed Virgin Galactic in 2004 with the intention of sending regular people \u2014 well, regular people that have an extra \u00a3200,000 (approximately US$250,000) lying around \u2014 into space.\u00a0 So far, more than 600 people from 60 countries have spent an average of about \u00a3100,000 each to reserve a spot on one of Branson\u2019s spacecraft.\r\n\r\n \r\nDemand for Space Flight is Soaring\r\nAccording to The Guardian, those hoping \u201cto take a 90-minute flight that will only for a brief few moments escape the Earth\u2019s atmosphere include celebrities Justin Bieber and Leonardo DiCaprio.\u201d\r\n\r\nOn Monday, Branson announced a partnership with Chamath Palihapitiya, CEO of Social Capital Hedosophia (SCH) Holdings Corp. (NYSE:IPOA), with the intent of making Virgin Galactic the first \u2014 and, thus far, only \u2014 publicly traded company dedicated to human spaceflight.\r\n\r\n\u201cPalihapitiya, will invest an additional $100 million in the transaction and will become chairman of the combined entity,\u201d a Virgin press release noted.\r\n\r\n\u201cGreat progress in our test flight program means that we are on track for our beautiful spaceship to begin commercial service. By embarking on this new chapter, at this advanced point in Virgin Galactic\u2019s development, we can open space to more investors and in doing so, open space to thousands of new astronauts,\u201d said Branson.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe are at the dawn of a new space age, with huge potential to improve and sustain life on Earth. I am delighted that SCH has decided to become such an important part of our amazing journey. They share our dreams and together we will make them a reality.\u201d\r\n\r\nPalihapitiya was equally effusive, saying that Virgin Galactic was \u201clight years ahead of the competition\u201d and adding that the \u201crisk-reward is really compelling.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cWe have 2,500 people on the waiting list who want to be customers. There are many more people who want to go to space than there is room to fly them,\u201d Palihapitiya concluded.\r\n\r\n \r\nWill High Demand Equal High Growth?\r\nBut is the optimism of billionaires a reason to invest in the eventual Virgin Galactic initial public offering? Simply put, no. However, the early funding is encouraging. Most are aware of how risky investing in technology IPOs can be, but underfunded IPOs are portfolio death.\r\n\r\nConsider Intrexon Corporation (NASDAQ:XON). The company, which designs, builds and regulates DNA sequences, had less than 10% of its expenses covered by revenues when it made its public market debut on Aug. 8, 2013. XON closed at $24.73 that day; it finished Wednesday\u2019s session at $7.75.\r\n\r\nContrast that with Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA), which had $6.51 billion in revenue and $3.65 billion in expenses when it went public on Sept. 19, 2014. BABA was valued at $93.89 when the closing bell rang that day. Alibaba currently trades at $166.93 a share.\r\n\r\nUltimately, investors will have to wait until the second half of the year to get a closer look at the private company's financials and see whether there is potential for the company to take off.\r\n\r\n \r\nBet On or Against Branson\r\nIn October of 2018, Branson said that he hoped to be on a Virgin Galactic flight into space \u201cin months, not years\u201d and felt passengers would be on board \u201cnot too long after that.\u201d\r\n\r\nThat kind of confidence, though clearly misguided, is inspiring \u2014 as is the enthusiasm of potential passengers and the amount of money that has already been raised.\r\n\r\nIn other words, when Virgin Galactic does go public, it might be unwise to bet against Branson.