The funds will be deployed to strengthen and build technology infrastructure, expand ground testing and build a team to help Agnikul become India’s first private player to launch satellites in space
Agnikul Cosmos Pvt Ltd, an IIT-Madras incubated spacetech startup, has raised $11 million in a Series A funding round led by venture capital firm Mayfield India.
Mayfield India’s managing partner Vikram Godse will be joining the board of the company. The Chennai-based company said the funds will be deployed to strengthen and build technology infrastructure, expand ground testing and build a team to help Agnikul become India’s first private player to launch satellites in space.
Existing investors pi Ventures, Speciale Invest and Artha Venture Fund also invested in this round along with BEENEXT, Globevestor and LionRock Capital. Prominent angel investors Anand Mahindra, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan, Nithin Kamath, Abhishek Singhania, Aarthi Ramamurthy and Sriram Krishnan, Anicut Angel Fund, LetsVenture among others also participated.
“In these difficult times for humanity as a whole, we are thankful to be able to find excitement, as our investors continue to reaffirm their confidence in our strategy of democratizing small satellite launches. We are thankful to have ISRO’s guidance and happy that the Government is enabling private space tech ventures. With this support from the Government and investors, we look forward to an exciting next step for our company and in the process, simplifying access to space," said co-founder and CEO Srinath Ravichandran.
The four-year old startup was co-founded by Ravichandran along with Moin SPM and Prof SR Chakravarthy. It is currently building the country’s first private small satellite launch vehicle, Agnibaan, a rocket that enables plug-and-play configuration and is capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload to low earth orbits.
This on-demand rocket can be fully customized to the customer’s needs at an affordable cost. The startup is looking to complete its first mission sometime in 2022.
Earlier this year, Agnikul successfully test fired the world's first 3D printed rocket engine - Agnilet.
“Agnikul is democratising access to space for the small satellite market, which is largely underserved globally. For these customers, this is a game changer as they now have zero wait time and can control their own mission, all at an affordable cost. The team’s customer centric approach combined with their ability to constantly innovate will help them stay ahead of competition and build a global success story," said Mayfield's Godse.
In December 2020, Agnikul signed an agreement with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) under the newly announced IN-SPACe initiative to have access to the space agency’s expertise and its facilities to build Agnibaan.
Last year, it had raised ₹23.4 crore in a pre-Series A funding led by pi Ventures.
“…In the next two years, we want to perfect getting to orbit. This is a large effort by itself and we are keeping our focus to just this for now. We are proud to be building from India and we will continue to strategize on efficient realization techniques such as 3d printing to build world class space technology in India," said Moin SPM, co-founder and COO, Agnikul.
Spacetech startups in India are ready to take off, spurred by government policy, local tech expertise and increasing investor interest. A slew of startups such as Pixxel, Bellatrix Aerospace, Agnikul, Vesta Space among others, led by young founders, have raised funds amid the pandemic, as they identify unique opportunities in space that can solve problems across industries.
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