India’s Spacetech sector is fast becoming a magnet for innovation and funding

Pioneering spacetech startups like Pixxel, Skyroot Aerospace and Agnikul Cosmos have raised a combined funding of US$ 29.3 mn in 2021

May 21, 2021

The venture capital entities that led the funding include the Greenko Group, Mayfield India, Omnivore and Techstars.

The funds are to be used to upgrade existing technology and design new launch vehicles.

Satellite technology is expected to make an impact in fintech, agriculture, sustainable development and remote sensing.

Programmes like IN-SPACe and SEED, and industry bodies like NSIL can help increase the competitiveness of the sector.

Spacetech startups in Indian have witnessed a significant boost in funding in the recent months.  Some of the frontrunners of this activity include Skyroot Aerospace, Pixxel and Agnikul Cosmos with many more joining the race to launch products and services for the promising space business . Experts in the space industry expect the emergence of at least six unicorns by the year 2027. Media reports say that both Agnikul Cosmos and Skyroot Cosmos raised US$ 11 mn each during their round of Series A Funding from Mayfield India and Greenko Group. Pawan Kumar Chandana, CEO & CTO of the Hyderabad-based ‎Skyroot Aerospace explained his vision for the future of the entity’s journey of innovation thus: “We will be using the funds to grow our team and complete full development of Vikram-1, which involves qualification of over 100 systems which will eventually work together to build the entire launch vehicle.” Pixxel, a two-year-old Bengaluru-based spacetech start up, raised US$ 7.3 mn in its recent round of funding. 

The spacetech sector has evolved to produce innovative yet highly cost-effective solutions that can cater to the demands of multiple sectors. Satellite technology has the potential to become the future of data storage, agricultural planning, remote sensing, sustainable development projects, imaging and financial services among the many application areas. Tapping into the sector’s potential has become a policy priority and has received support from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) through initiatives like the Space Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development (SEED) programme. Bodies such as the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) and the New Space India Limited (NSIL) have been established to handhold startups with the requisite technological expertise in manufacturing and scalability. IN-SPACe also facilitates the participation and investment of foreign entities in the sector which can help make India’s spacetech sector more competitive, and enhance its potential to produce high-tech, specialized offerings. Consulting firm PwC values the Indian spacetech economy at US$ 7bn. A combination of conducive policymaking, adequate funding and robust R&D can help the sector scale greater heights in the near future.