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, 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
The space industry is said to be touching $350 billion globally with several private players.
Agnikul’s diverse team of rocket scientists, engineers, and investors is working on the horse-blinded vision of making space accessible and affordable.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)