Space Tech Startup Agnikul Raises $11M in Series A Round Led by Mayfield India

Existing investors – Speciale Invest, pi Ventures, and Artha Ventures – along with prominent angels including, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan, Anand Mahindra,, Aarthi Ramamurthy, and Sriram Krishnan invested in this round

CHENNAI, India, May 19, 2021 (Agnikul PR) — Space tech startup,Agnikul today announced raising $11 million in a Series A funding round led by Mayfield India, making it the largest funding round for a private Indian space technology company in India. Existing investors pi Ventures, Speciale Invest, and Artha Ventures also invested in this round. The round also saw participation from BEENEXT, Globevestor, LionRock Capital and prominent angel investors Anand Mahindra, Naval Ravikant, Balaji Srinivasan, Nithin Kamath, Abhishek Singhania, Aarthi Ramamurthy; and Sriram Krishnan, Anicut Angel Fund, among others. As a part of the round, Mayfield India’s managing partner Vikram Godse will be joining the board of the company. The funds will be deployed to strengthen the technology infrastructure, expand ground testing and build a world class team to help Agnikul become India’s first private player to launch satellites in space.

Founded in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM and Prof. SR Chakravarthy (from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras), Agnikul has built India’s first private small satellite launch vehicle – Agnibaan, a rocket that enables plug-and-play configuration and is capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload to Low Earth Orbits. This on-demand rocket can be fully customized to the customer’s needs at an affordable cost. Agnikul’s diverse team of rocket scientists, engineers, and investors are working on the vision of making space accessible and affordable. The IIT Madras incubated startup is looking to complete its first mission sometime next year. 

Earlier this year, Agnikul successfully test fired the world’s first 3D printed rocket engine – Agnilet. This higher stage semi cryogenic rocket engine is unique because it is completely 3D printed in one run, as a single component. Agnikul is the only company in the world that has designed a semi cryo rocket which can be fully built using 3D printing technology in one shot. 

Speaking about the investment, Srinath Ravichandran, Co-Founder and CEO, Agnikul, said, “In these difficult times for humanity as a whole, we are thankful to be able to find excitement, as our investors continue to reaffirm their confidence in our strategy of democratizing small satellite launches. This latest investment will be a boost to our journey in becoming India’s first startup to launch a vehicle in space. With this support from the Government, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and investors, we look forward to an exciting next step for our company, and in the process simplifying access to space.” 

Moin SPM, Co-Founder and COO further added,  “In the next two years we want to perfect getting to orbit. This is a large effort by itself and we are keeping our focus to just this for now. We are proud to be building from India and we will continue to strategize on efficient realization techniques such as 3D printing to build world class space technology in India.”

In December 2020, Agnikul became the first player to enter into an agreement with the Department of Space under Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe) to work with ISRO for developing launch vehicles in India. 

In the past, Agnikul had raised the seed round of funding from Speciale Invest in 2019 and  another round of $3.1M  in a Pre-Series A funding from institutional investors – pi Ventures, Hari Kumar (LionRock Capital), Artha Ventures, LetsVenture, Globevestor, CIIE and Speciale Invest in March 2020.

More quotes 

“Agnikul is democratising access to space for the small satellite market, which is largely underserved globally. For these customers, this is a game changer as they now have zero wait time and can control their own mission, all at an affordable cost. The team’s customer centric approach combined with their ability to constantly innovate will help them stay ahead of competition and build a global success story. We are excited to back Srinath and Moin on their journey to space”, said Vikram Godse, Managing Partner, Mayfield India. 

“We invest in companies that are redefining the future of deep tech and space tech, and are excited to continue on this journey with Agnikul by participating in this funding round. This funding is a strong validation for the opportunity in global private space and the potential to build deep-tech companies from India for the world. With this investment, Speciale will continue to fuel Agnikul’s efforts to further push India’s self-reliance in this space”, said Vishesh Rajaram, Managing Partner, Speciale Invest.

“Agnikul is one of the unique companies to come out of India. Their mission of democratising access to space on the back of fundamentally disruptive technology is awe inspiring. We at pi are fortunate to be associated with them. It aligns with our vision of backing disruptive companies solving global problems via tech innovations very well. With this round, they are well on their way to achieving their mission. All the very best to them”, said Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures.

About Agnikul

AgniKul Cosmos Private Limited is a Chennai, India-based startup incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT Madras). It is building India’s first private small satellite rocket, Agnibaan, that will be capable of carrying up to 100 kg of payload to low Earth orbits up to 700 km. The vehicle has the capability for a plug-and-play engine configuration that is configurable to precisely match the mission’s needs.

For more information, visit https://agnikul.in/#/

About Mayfield 

Mayfield is a global venture capital firm with a 50+ year successful track record and $2.5 billion under management. Since its founding in 1969, the firm has invested in more than 500 companies resulting in 118 IPOs and more than 200 M&As. Mayfield India has over $218 million under management and is a technology focused sector agnostic fund that primarily invests in early stage companies, both enterprise and consumer. We are guided by our ‘People First’ philosophy and our investment team operates from a shared set of beliefs and partners for the long term with entrepreneurs pursuing big ideas. 

For more information, visit https://www.mayfield.com/

About Speciale Invest

Founded in 2017 by Co-Founders Vishesh Rajaram and Arjun Rao, Speciale Invest is a seed stage venture capital firm that invests in founders building technologies of tomorrow. The firm backs ingenious entrepreneurs that use disruptive technologies to find innovative solutions that make an impact. 

The fund’s interests include Enterprise Software Products (emerging from deep tech in Cloud, Voice & Vision ML/AI, Image Analytics, AR/VR) and Industrial Hardware Products (emerging from deep tech in propulsion tech, robotics, rocket engines, lithium tech, micro-electronics, optical communication tech). 

For more information, visit https://www.specialeinvest.com/

About pi Ventures:

pi Ventures is an early stage venture capital fund pioneering AI and DeepTech investments in India. The fund backs disruptive tech ventures solving global problems thus creating 10x differentiated businesses. The VC fund portfolio includes world leading companies like Wysa, Pyxis, Locus, Agnikul and Niramai among others. Fund 1 has a corpus of $30M backed by major global LPs such as CDC, IFC, Accel, SIDBI and others.

For more information, visit http://www.piventures.in/