Agnikul Cosmos Secures ₹200 Crore in Funding for Space-Tech Innovation ($26.7 million) in its Series B funding round. This round saw participation from Celesta Capital, Rocketship.vc, Artha Venture Fund, Artha Select Fund, and MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) Startup Hub.Existing investors, including Venturers, Special Invest, MeitY Startup Hub, and others, also participated in this round.
When was Agnikul found ?
Agnikul Founded by Ravichandran and Moin SPM in 2017, Agnikul is an Indian technology institute (IIT)-Madras incubated space-tech startup working on building India’s first private small satellite launch vehicle, Agnibaan.
To meet the requirements of rocket missions, Agnikul has configured engines with a plug-and-play mode, capable of carrying payloads of up to 100 kilograms to orbits up to 700 kilometers above Earth with precision.
Agnikul Cosmos Secures ₹200 Crore in Funding for Space-Tech Innovation
Agnikul’s focus is on streamlining the manufacturing process and being at the forefront of global startups. Ravichandran stated that Agnikul aims to launch small satellites to reduce dependence on expensive launch vehicles and cater to customers’ needs.
• In addition to current investors, Celesta Capital, Rocketship.vc, Artha Venture Fund and Artha Select Fund, and Mayfield India participated in the Series B fundraising round.
• Agnikul Cosmos said that it will increase its investments in strategic facilities and expedite the commercialization of its current technologies with the additional cash.
• Founded in 2017, Agnikul is developing Agnibaan, India’s first privately owned small satellite rocket, which will be able to transport up to 100 kg of cargo to low-Earth orbits with a 700 km range.
Agnikul, as one of the country’s pioneering startups to sign an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has gained access to expertise and facilities under IN-SPACe, the space agency’s commercial arm.
CEO Srinath Ravichandran’s comments :
Ravichandran mentioned that while there are no upcoming projects in the pipeline with ISRO, Agnikul remains eager to collaborate in the future.
Currently, Agnikul is preparing for the launch of its first vehicle, Agnibaan SOrTeD (Suborbital Technological Demonstrator) from its own launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
The startup also claims to have developed the world’s first single-piece 3D printed rocket engine, entirely conceptualized and manufactured in India. After testing it in 2021, Agnikul secured a patent from the Indian government in 2022 for this engine.
Ravichandran told Inc42 that the startup is focused on streamlining the manufacturing and assembly process and concentrating its efforts on the 3D printed engine to make manufacturing more efficient and cost-effective.
It’s worth noting that last year, Agnikul inaugurated a factory to enable 3D printing of rocket engines, capable of producing eight such engines every month. It became the first company worldwide to use 3D printing to create rocket engines as single, seamless pieces.
The startup competes with domestic players like Bellatrix Aerospace, Skyroot Aerospace, Dhruv Space, and Pixxel.
According to Inc42’s Indian Space-Tech Startup Landscape and Market Opportunities Report 2023, the space tech sector is expected to reach a market size of $77 billion by 2030, growing by 26% CAGR.
Agnibaan is a highly versatile, two-stage launch vehicle. On November 4, 2022, ISRO’s primary center for launch vehicle development, the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), provided Agnikul Cosmos with the facility for a hot test of the rocket engine developed by them.
VSSC conducted a successful 15-second hot test of the Agnikul engine at its Vertical Test Facility, Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) in Thiruvananthapuram. This test was part of an agreement between ISRO and Agnikul Cosmos, signed as a part of utilizing ISRO’s facilities through IN-SPACe, the commercial arm of ISRO.
Regarding Trends and Scalability :
Regarding scalability and trends, Shreenath stated that there has been a slight decline in venture capital funding and particular investment patterns in the deep tech industry. He said, “The prospects for obtaining funding in comparatively new fields are not the same as the established norms that founders encountered. Benefits and challenges are ever-present, and I don’t anticipate a big change in that aspect. The sector attracts to people who have a specific attitude as well as those who get ideas from established business trends.”