Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Indian Space start-up Agnikul Cosmos raises Rs 222 crore, prepares for first rocket launch

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Indian space-tech start-up, Agnikul Cosmos, a product of incubation at IIT-Madras, announced its successful fund raising of Rs 200 Crore (USD 26.7 Million) in their latest Series-B funding round. The raised funds have bloomed the start-up’s total capital to an impressive USD 40 Million, following their ambitious expansion plans which involve the launch of satellites in orbit. 

“Because of Chandrayaan-3, there is a lot of credibility in the system,” said Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder and CEO of Agnikul, highlighting the significance of India’s lunar exploration mission to the South Pole of the Moon. Chandrayaan-3, which made India the first country to successfully land on the moon’s unexplored south pole, has evidently added a push to the funding prospects of space start-ups like Agnikul.

Their Next Big Leap: Launch of Agnibaan 

Agnikul Cosmos has started integrating the launch vehicle, known as Agnibaan, at their private pad located at the famed Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. With their eyes set on a test launch before the end of this year, Agnikul is gearing up to revolutionize India’s space industry. 

Agnibaan is a highly customizable, 2-stage launch vehicle, which is designed to carry up to 300 kg (around 660 lb) of payload to orbits around 700 km (roughly 435 miles).

“We have a fair idea of the technology that is involved in getting us to space. Now that the research and development risk has mostly been taken out, we want to focus more on scaling up. We are not just thinking of the next few launches, but about 50-60 launches and coming up with systems, people, and operations in place,” – Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder and CEO of Agnikul Cosmos

First Private Launchpad and Mission Control Centre 

Founded in 2017, Agnikul Cosmos operates India’s first private launchpad and mission control centre. The Indian space agency, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) operates all other launchpads in India. This indeed speaks volumes about the avant-garde vision and trailblazing tendencies of this Indian space tech start-up. 

“Agnikul’s mission underscores the spirit of collaboration amongst the Indian Space Research Organization, space regulators and entrepreneurs in driving advancements within India’s vibrant space-tech ecosystem,” said Arun Kumar, managing partner at Celesta Capital, which made contributions in the latest funding round.

Funding and Expansion Plans

The successful Series-B funding round saw brave participation from leading venture capital investors like Celesta Capital, Rocketship.vc, Artha Venture Fund, and Artha Select Fund, Mayfield India as well as existing investors like Pi Ventures, Speciale Invest, and Mayfield India. 

Agnikul Cosmos also envisions investing in key facilities such as mobile launch pads and other necessary test rigs to cater to the customizable launch-on-demand needs of its clients. In terms of India’s growing space sector, with projections showing a potential growth from USD 8 Billion to USD 44 Billion in the next ten years, Agnikul Cosmos is polishing its chest of technologies for frequent future launches. 

“With this capital, we will continue to drive our technology forward, building facilities and testing systems that we need to deliver a reliable product for our customers,” – Srinath Ravichandran.

Bearing testament to India’s mettle in the world of space technology, Agnikul is also exploring options for expansion in facilities around Chennai, while planning to employ more personnel, essentially focusing on the production and operations part of the company. The introduction of more infrastructure and quality in operations would provide a risk-mitigated solution for their customers. 

Their space vehicle Agnibaan, set to revolutionize the industry, is integral for validating the company’s technologies for commercial launches. 

“As India’s answer to SpaceX, Agnikul is poised to revolutionize the space industry, not just domestically but also globally,”- Sailesh Ramakrishnan, the managing partner of Rocketship.vc.

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