At a time when the country’s start-up ecosystem is witnessing a prolonged funding winter, spacetech has gradually emerged from the shadows to become a bright spot. Bengaluru-based satellite developer GalaxEye has become the first spacetech start-up to complete a $3.5 million seed funding round in the fastest possible time, the company said on Friday.
Speaking exclusively to Business Today, founder and CEO Suyash Singh said the success of the funding round is an endorsement of the emerging potential of the country’s vibrant spacetech ecosystem.
“In terms of technology, the cost of launching rockets and building satellites is coming down. As far as policy is concerned, the government, ISRO and IN-SPACe have worked hand in hand to give tremendous momentum to the space sector. Besides moreover, while the sector is largely considered a government domain, the emergence of commercial use cases such as data has made investors aware of the potential of spacetech,” said Singh.
He further announced that the fundraising will enable GalaxEye to hire top talent as well as accelerate the launch of the world’s first multi-sensor satellite for earth observation. It will also mark the beginning of the commercialization of the company’s services, with customers spread across geographies in the US, Europe and Africa.
“A good space start-up with a solid story will not have difficulty getting funding because we have reached the point where investors are ready to listen to them,” chairperson of IN-SPACe – the nodal agency for authorization , promoting and regulating private players in the space sector – Dr. Pawan Goenka, told BT recently.
In CY2022, top Indian spacetech start-ups secured more than $110 million in funding, according to data compiled by IN-SPACe and BT.
Targeting to be a global leader in multi-sensor imaging
GalaxEye also announced the availability of the company’s flagship product offering, which features multi-sensor imagery via modern satellites. Data fusion technology developed in-house will bring unparalleled insights and data from space, enabling satellite constellations to perform all-weather imaging without the atmospheric interference typical of single- sensor satellite today. The technology allows the production of images with very high resolution through a small satellite constellation, which once fully operational, will provide global coverage in 12 hours.
Next year is especially important for the company as it seeks to reach space with its satellite to become a global leader in multi-sensor imaging.
“We will be looking for an additional round of funding of the order of $15-25 million in 2023 to add more satellites to our constellation as our business grows,” Singh said.
Led by deep-tech venture capital fund Special Invest, this increase is notable for the segment given the amount of funding and speed with which the round was closed. One of the reasons behind the growing interest in Indian spacetech startups is the availability of a global market for spacetech products.
“If you take Swiggy or Dunzo, the opportunity is only India, but if you look at spacetech, it is a global opportunity. India is among the few countries that are at the forefront of spacetech. Therefore, the government has realized the need to push the private space alongside ISRO to capture a larger share of this market,” opined managing partner at Speciale Invest, Vishesh Rajaram.
The new round also saw the participation of other investors including Artha India Ventures, Veda VC, Anicut Capital, Upsparks and a consortium of entrepreneurs, including founder and CEO Zerodha, Nithin Kamath, founder and CEO EaseMyTrip, Prashant Pitti, founder and CEO Tracxn, Abhishek Goyal, and partner in celestial capital, Ganapathy Subramaniam.
Founded in 2020, the founders of GalaxEye emerged from Avishkar Hyperloop, a group of scientists brought together through a global competition organized by Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company SpaceX. The team, now also funded by Indian Railways, was the only Asian entry represented in the finale of the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition and was also part of the FalconX immersion program 2022, based in Silicon Valley, California.
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