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Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  'Space policy has been a game changer in India’s private space-tech arena': Skyroot co-founder Pawan Kumar Chandana
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'Space policy has been a game changer in India’s private space-tech arena': Skyroot co-founder Pawan Kumar Chandana

The company announced on Monday that it has raised $27.5 million, taking its total funding to $95 million, confirming growing investor interest in space-tech

File photo. ISRO Chairman (right) with Pawan Kumar Chandana (middle) and Naga Bharath Daka (left), co-founders of Skyroot Aerospace. (Skyroot/Twitter)Premium
File photo. ISRO Chairman (right) with Pawan Kumar Chandana (middle) and Naga Bharath Daka (left), co-founders of Skyroot Aerospace. (Skyroot/Twitter)

Space-tech company Skyroot Aerospace has raised $27.5 million (about 225 crore) in a pre-Series C funding round led by Singapore-based investment firm Temasek, confirming India’s status as a rising private space-tech power. Co-founder and CEO of the company, Pawan Kumar Chandana, widely regarded as a pioneer in India’s private space-tech arena, says the aspiration is to build a strong space-tech enterprise for the world from India. With the help of the new round of funding, the total funding into the company has risen to $95 million.

Skyroot, founded in 2018 by Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka, came into prominence after launching India’s and South Asia’s first privately developed rocket. The company says it also offers on-demand, cost-effective, space launch services to global small and medium-sized satellite markets.

The new funding round, Chandana says, will help Skyroot in accelerating upcoming launches in the next two years. Excerpts from an interview:

India is today one of the forerunners in the private space-tech category globally. Five years ago, there was no indication that there would be such a proliferation of startups in this space. What was the game changer?


India today has more than 150 startups in the space-tech area and many of them are raising funds. The key enabler has been the formulation of the Space Policy. The Policy has opened up the sector for enhanced participation of non-government entities (NGEs) across the entire value chain of the space economy. The government has set up the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) as a single-window agency for the promotion and authorization of space activities. This has brought about a transformative change. Having an independent authorisation agency allows us to do business in a much better way and build products with the help of a strong policy framework.


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Clearly, having a robust policy is helping startups win over investors.

During our initial rounds of funding, winning the trust of the investor was tough. But once the space policy was formulated it became easier. I would say that before the policy came into existence raising capital was probably 10 times tougher.

The other enabler has been the robust space ecosystem we have had for the last 60 years.

As founders you are trying to push the envelope as far as space-tech is concerned. At the same time, you have to keep the funding going. How tough has the journey been?

During the initial two rounds, we had to spend 50% of our overall time on fundraising. Some of our early investors guided us through our subsequent rounds. These days the questions are around scale. When we started out in 2018, we were the forerunners and had to take a leap of faith.

How do you plan to spend the new round of funding?

We’ll use it to drive our next phase of growth through increased investments in infrastructure, and space technology, attracting top-tier talent, and enhancing the launch frequency and capabilities.

What are your aspirations as a company going forward?

We have all the ingredients as a country to be a world leader in this area and are the most cost-efficient space power in the world. As a company, our aspiration is to build a strong space tech enterprise for the world from India.

We are trying our best to build a culture of innovation and agility. Globally, the space-tech market is $400 billion in size and India has a 2% share of it. We have already created history by sending India’s first privately built rocket, Vikram-S, into space last year, and is now gearing up to fire our first orbital space launch vehicle in the first quarter of 2024. Last week, we unveiled in Hyderabad the multi-stage launch-vehicle Vikram-1 that has a payload capacity of around 300 kg and the capability to place satellites in lower earth orbit (LEO).


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Updated: 31 Oct 2023, 12:03 PM IST
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