In the largest funding round ever in the Indian space-tech sector, Skyroot Aerospace, a Hyderabad-based startup successfully raised $51 million (₹403 crore) in a Series-B financing round. The fresh round of funding follows the Indian government’s major thrust into the space sector by opening it up to private sector players, including startups and encouraging private investments in the sector.
Singapore-based global investment firm GIC led the funding round. Mayank Rawat, managing director of GIC India Direct Investment Group, will be joining Skyroot’s Board.
The company says the investment validates Skyroot’s strengths in space technology and boosts its capabilities to tap into trillion-dollar space business opportunities. The company plans to cater to the burgeoning demand from the international small satellite market.
“We are proud to welcome one of the world’s leading institutional investors as a long-term partner in our mission to ‘Open Space for All’. This round puts us on a trajectory of hyper-growth by funding all of our initial developmental launches, and enables building infrastructure to meet high launch cadence required by our satellite customers. Our objective is to establish ourselves as a provider of best-in-class rocket launch services and the go-to destination for affordable and reliable small satellite launches,” says Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-Founder and CEO of Skyroot.
Skyroot is the first startup to sign an MoU with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for sharing facilities and expertise and pioneers India’s first privately developed space launch vehicles. The flagship Vikram series of launch vehicles, named after the founder of India’s space program – Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, are uniquely built with an all-carbon-fibre structure, can launch up to 800 kg of payloads to low earth orbit (LEO), the company states.
“We have validated all three propulsion technologies in our Vikram space launch vehicles, and completed a full duration test of one of our rocket stages in May’22. We are also planning a demonstrator launch to space this year. This round will help us get to a full-fledged commercial satellite launch scale within a year from now. We have started booking payload slots for our upcoming launches,” says Naga Bharath Daka, co-founder and COO of Skyroot.
The company has already completed critical milestones toward the development of its commercial space launch vehicles. With this round, Skyroot has expanded its marquee shareholder base including Myntra & CultFit founder Mukesh Bansal, Greenko group founders (Anil Chalamalasetty & Mahesh Kolli), Solar Industries India Limited, Google board member Ram Shriram’s Sherpalo Ventures, Neeraj Arora (former-WhatsApp global business chief), Wami Capital and others from past funding rounds. According to a recent market survey, the global space launch services market is projected to grow from $14.21 billion in 2022 to $31.90 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 12.25% in the forecast period.