Government policies, indigenous tech skills, and growing investor interest have fueled the growth of spacetech firms in India. A wave of firms driven by youthful founders, including Pixxel, Bellatrix Aerospace, Agnikul, and Vesta Space, have received financing in the midst of the epidemic as they perceive unique potential in space that may solve challenges across sectors.
Despite the fact that the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has been at the forefront of pushing the space industry so far, the finance minister said in May that the sector will be open to commercial firms. The changes include establishing a fair playing field for private enterprises in satellites, launches, and space-based services by establishing a predictable policy and regulatory environment for commercial operators and granting access to ISRO geospatial data and infrastructure.
“The administration is generating a lot of positive noise, and we’re quite enthusiastic about the intent… that’s a wonderful start.” According to Arpit Agarwal, principal of Blume Ventures, “Indian space tech firms are incredibly competent and can launch a rocket for 1/3 the cost of the US in the same category.”
Investors such as Blume Ventures, StartupXCeed, and Inflexor Ventures, who have put money into space startups, believe the time is right for space tech now, thanks to factors such as the proliferation of microsatellites, lower launch costs, and the need for more real-time deep intelligence on our planet.
According to statistics from Tracxn, there were three fundraising agreements in 2020.
Pixxel received $5 million in early investment from Blume, growX, and Lightspeed, which will help the company boost its plans for launching its first satellite later this year and speed up the creation of its second satellite. Agnikul, a Chennai-based spacetech business, got $23.4 crore from pi Ventures in March, while Vesta Space Technology, located in Pune, raised $10 million from Next Capital LLC in May.
Improvements in launch methods and developments like the use of commercial-off-the-shelf technology for Space applications have driven down prices in recent years, allowing smaller firms to make a difference in the wider ecosystem. This phenomenon, known as NewSpace, is opening up a slew of new opportunities for entrepreneurs. While India’s NewSpace sector is still in its infancy, it has enormous development potential. The government and large corporations must offer support and incentive to startups in the form of grants and money, as well as function as an anchor client, at least initially, to boost the market.
Through the recently created Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre, the government in particular has a tremendous potential to create value for both the upstream and downstream NewSpace sectors (IN-SPACe). Because hardware startups have a skill and cost advantage, the production of IP (intellectual property) assets might be fueled by grants and government backing, while the downstream market for NewSpace companies is open and will operate more within the greater scope of software and electronics segments.
To ensure India’s success in marketing its space environment, a variety of factors must come together. Large organizations who are searching for ISRO manufacturers should start establishing internal skills so that they can develop more systems that they can sell as products to new startups and international clients. There is also a need for more high-quality entrepreneurs and deep-pocket investors in India who can take advantage of the country’s developing ecosystem to launch profitable businesses.