The investment round also saw participation from existing investors like Mayfield, Artha Venture Fund, Pi Ventures and Speciale Invest. The firm did not disclose the valuation at which it raised the capital, but cofounder and chief executive Srinath Ravichandran said it was higher than the valuation assigned to the firm in the previous fundraising rounds, without giving further details.
The Chennai-headquartered firm would use the funds to scale up its manufacturing and testing facilities and build its team, Ravichandran told ET in an interaction. The firm’s main products include a customizable vehicle to launch satellites into space called “Agnibaan”, and a mobile launch platform built on a repurposed truck called “Dhanush”.
“The idea is to be able to configure the vehicle according to the customer demands, so they have the right pricing. All of our vehicles are highly configurable and that is what we believe will address the pain point of the market today, and that is how we want to position ourselves, because customers already have access to other vehicles,” Ravichandran said.
Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM and SR Chakravarthy at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Agnikul last raised $20 million over 2022 from investors like Mayfield and Artha Venture Funds. In November 2022, the firm opened its first launchpad and mission control centre in Sriharikota – reportedly India’s first-ever launchpad designed and operated by a private player.
“As India’s answer to SpaceX, Agnikul is poised to revolutionise the space industry not just domestically but globally. Led by Srinath, Moin and Prof. Satya, the team is super passionate and we wish them all the success in their first mission. An added pleasure for us has been the fact that Agnikul was born at IIT Madras, which is our alma mater,” said Sailesh Ramakrishnan, managing partner at Rocketship.vc.
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The firm is looking to test launch its vehicle before the end of this year, and will look to launch its first commercial launch by the middle of 2023, Ravichandran said. It is in talks with potential customers in India, Europe, Japan and the US to launch satellites for use in the fields of imaging and communication, he said, without giving further details.“The steady state goal for us to scale up to two launches a month… we feel like the market has space to absorb higher frequency but this is the target for now,” he added.
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