Space-tech startup Agnikul Cosmos, incubated by IIT-Madras, on Tuesday said it has raised Rs 200 crore in the Series-B funding round and aims to use that for supporting its expansion plans as the firm looks at putting satellites in orbit.
Agnikul has started the integration of the launch vehicle Agnibaan SubOrbital Technology Demonstrator at its private launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
“We are planning to have a test launch before the year-end,” Agnikul co-founder and CEO Srinath Ravichandran told PTI.
With the successful closure of a Series-B fund of Rs 200 crore (USD 26.7 million), the startup has increased its total capital raised till date to USD 40 million.
The round saw participation from venture capital investors such as Celesta Capital, Rocketship.vc, Artha Venture Fund and Artha Select Fund, Mayfield India, along with existing investors such as pi Ventures, Speciale Invest and Mayfield India.
“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,” Ravichandran said.
Agnikul also has plans to invest in key facilities such as mobile launchpads and other test rigs necessary for addressing the launch-on-demand needs of the customer.
“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,” Ravichandran said.
India’s space regulator Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre has projected the space sector to grow to USD 44 billion in the next decade from the current size of USD 8 billion.
Founded on the IIT-Madras campus, Agnikul is looking at facilities in and around Chennai for its expansion plans and is exploring options in the region. The start-up also has plans to hire more personnel with the focus now being on production and operations part of the business.
“As India’s answer to SpaceX, Agnikul is poised to revolutionise the space industry, not just domestically but also globally,” Sailesh Ramakrishnan, the managing partner of Rocketship.vc, said.
“Doubling our investment isn’t merely a financial move, it’s a ringing endorsement of our faith in Agnikul’s prowess. We’re all in, eager to see and support every giant leap they make in reshaping space exploration,” Anirudh A Damani, the fund manager of Artha Venture Fund, said.
In 2021, Agnikul successfully test-fired ‘Agnilet’, the world’s first single-piece 3D printed engine fully conceived and manufactured in India and secured a patent for its engine from the government.
Agnikul also inaugurated its one-of-a-kind factory dedicated to end-to-end 3D printing of rocket engines last year, representing an important step towards launch vehicle engine fabrication at scale.
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