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 quickest possible time, the company said on Friday.
Speaking exclusively to Business Today, founder & CEO, Suyash Singh said the success of the funding round was 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 all worked in tandem to provide tremendous momentum to the space sector. Besides, while the sector was earlier largely perceived as a domain of the government, the emergence of commercial use cases such as data have made investors aware of spacetech’s potential,” averred Singh.
He further informed that the fundraising would enable GalaxEye to hire top-notch talent as well as accelerate the launch of the world’s first multi-sensor satellite for earth observation. This will also mark the beginning of the commercialization of the firm’s services, with customers spread across geographies in the US, Europe and Africa.
“A good space start-up with a solid story won’t find it difficult to get funding as we have reached a point where investors are willing to listen to them,” chairperson of IN-SPACE – the nodal agency for authorizing, promoting and regulating private players in the space sector – Dr. Pawan Goenka, told BT recently.
In CY2022, leading Indian spacetech start-ups have managed to raise more than $110 million in funding, according to data compiled by IN-SPACe and BT.
Targeting to become a global leader in multi-sensor imaging
GalaxEye has also announced the availability of the company’s flagship product offering, featuring multi-sensor imagery via modern satellites. The data fusion technology developed in-house will bring unparalleled insights and data from space, enabling satellite constellations to perform all-weather imaging without atmospheric interference typical of today’s single-sensor satellites. The technology enables the production of images with extremely high resolution via a small satellite constellation, which once fully operational, would provide global coverage in under 12 hours.
Next year is especially crucial for the firm as it aspires to reach space with its satellite to become a global leader in multi-sensor imaging.
“We will be seeking 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,” informed Singh.
Led by deep-tech venture capital fund Special Invest, this raise is notable for the segment given the funding amount and alacrity with which the round was closed. One of the reasons behind the growing interest in Indian spacetech startups is the availability of a global marketplace for spacetech products.
“If you take Swiggy or Dunzo, the opportunity is India only, but if you look at spacetech, it’s a global opportunity. India is among the few nations that have been at the forefront of spacetech. Therefore, the government has realized the need to propel private space alongside ISRO to capture a larger share of this market,” opined the managing partner at Speciale Invest, Vishesh Rajaram.
The new round also saw participation by other investors including Artha India Ventures, Veda VC, Anicut Capital, Upsparks and a consortium of entrepreneurs, including founder & CEO Zerodha, Nithin Kamath, founder & CEO EaseMyTrip, Prashant Pitti, founder & CEO Tracxn, Abhishek Goyal, and partner at celestial capital, Ganapathy Subramaniam.
Founded in 2020, GalaxEye founders have emerged from Avishkar Hyperloop, a team of scientists brought together through a global competition organized by Elon Musk’s aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company SpaceX. The team, which is now also funded by the Indian Railways, was the only Asian entry represented at the finale of the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition and was also a part of the FalconX immersion program 2022, based in Silicon Valley, California.
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