India: Aerospace startup incubated at IIT-Madras’ incubation cell, Agnikul Cosmos, has raised Rs 3 crore in seed funding from seed-stage investment firm Speciale Incept Advisors.
The startup, which is working on manufacturing orbital launch vehicles for smaller payloads, aims to use the funds to accelerate prototype development by strengthening infrastructure and increasing team size. Working out of the National Centre for Combustion R&D at IIT-Madras, Agnikul was co-founded in by engineers and space enthusiasts Srinath Ravichandran (CEO) and Moin SPM (COO). They design and build launch vehicles capable of carrying around 100 kilograms of weight to lower earth orbits, thereby offering smaller satellites and other operators a more viable option. The startup uses additive manufacturing techniques including 3D printing tech for its engines.
“Speciale [the investor] brings a lot of industry connections and are also experienced deep tech-focused investors who can guide us as we scale up,” Ravichandran told TOI, noting that the funds would help the startup integrate its efforts and take them closer to prototype testing.Vishesh Rajaram, managing partner, Speciale Incept Advisors, said Agnikul’s propulsion tech and its ability to leverage additive manufacturing impressed the firm, which has a fund of $20 million currently.
The company said configuration of its launch vehicle is in place, and it expects to put the first flight into orbit within the next two years, with test procedures being ongoing throughout 2019.