Agnikul, the spacetech startup based out of Chennai, has raised Rs 23.4 crore in pre-Series A funding led by pi Ventures. The round also saw participation from Hari Kumar (LionRock Capital), Artha Ventures, LetsVenture, Globevestor, CIIE.CO
, and existing investor Speciale Invest.
Agnikul builds 3D printed single-piece rocket engines, and plans to use this funding for ground testing, fabrication, and team expansion.
Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder and CEO, Agnikul, said: “We started Agnikul with the dream of bringing space within everyone’s reach. We are doing this by building nimble, reliable, and modular rockets that can put small satellites in space, on demand. This round of investment is a meaningful velocity boost to our journey, and will directly help us get much closer to orbit.”
Founded in 2017 by Ravichandran and Moin SPM , Agnikul is the only company in the world to design a rocket engine that can be printed in a single piece, using 3D printing technology.The company is hoping to build a modular ultra light and affordable satellite launch vehicle.
Operating out of IIT-Madras’ National Centre for Combustion Research, Agnikul is at present building a satellite launch vehicle for a payload capacity of up to 100 kg. The configurable vehicle can support a payload range of 30-100 kg without impacting economics.
Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures, said: “I have always believed that India has the potential and the talent to create world-beating IPs and products, not just in the digital domain but also beyond. If done right, there is no doubt in my mind that India can be a leader in innovation on a global platform. We are proud to partner with Srinath and Moin on this journey, and believe that Agnikul can be a great example of world-class innovation coming from India.”
Since the engine is fully 3D printed, the manufacturing complexity associated with traditional rocket engines is moved to the design, making it an easier and cheaper fabrication process that will be able to deliver launch vehicles within a few weeks, on demand. Agnikul’s diverse team of rocket scientists, engineers, and investors is working on the horse-blinded vision of making space accessible and affordable.
Pi Ventures is a deep tech-focused early stage venture fund with investments in Applied Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Blockchain.
The space industry across the globe had grown into a $350-billion market, with many private players entering the sector, the startup said in a release. It is predicted that in 2022, more than 2,500 small satellites will be launched compared to less than 500 at the present time.