Chennai-based Agnikul raises $11 million in a series A funding

May 19, 2021 11:27 pm | Updated 11:27 pm IST - CHENNAI

Chennai-based Space Tech start-up, Agnikul has raised $11 million in a series A funding round led by Mayfield India, making it the largest funding round for a private Indian space technology company in India.

Existing investors, pi Ventures, Speciale Invest and Artha Venture Fund also invested in this round. The round also saw participation from Beenext, Globevestor, LionRock Capital and prominent angel investors, including Anand Mahindra, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan, Nithin Kamath, Abhishek Singhania, Aarthi Ramamurthy and Sriram Krishnan, Anicut Angel Fund, LetsVenture among others.

The company said that the funds raised would be deployed to strengthen and build robust technology infrastructure, expand ground testing and build a team to help Agnikul become India’s first private player to launch satellites in space. As a part of this round, Mayfield India’s managing partner Vikram Godse will be joining the board of the company.

In the past, Agnikul had raised $3.1 million in a pre-series A funding from institutional investors — pi Ventures, Hari Kumar (LionRock Capital), Artha Venture Fund, LetsVenture, Globevestor, CIIE, and Speciale Invest in March 2020 and the seed round of funding from Speciale Invest in 2019. “We deployed the last round of funding for ground testing, fabrication, and team expansion,” said Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder and CEO, Agnikul.

Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM and SR Chakravarthy (from IIT-Madras), Agnikul is building India’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 customised to the customer’s needs at an affordable cost.

The IIT-Madras incubated start-up is looking to complete its first mission sometime next year. When asked about the current status of Agnibaan, Mr. Ravichandran said, “Lot of design has been tested and realised. Qualification and integration of hardware is under way.”

“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 on just this for now,” added Moin SPM, Co-founder and COO, Agnikul.

In December 2020, Agnikul became the first space start-up to sign 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.

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