Highest-ever funding for Indian space-tech startup! Telangana-based Skyroot raises $51 million – BusinessToday

In a major milestone for the country’s fledgling commercial space startup sector, Kondapur-based commercial Skyroot Aerospace has successfully raised $51 million or Rs 403 crore through a Series-B financing round.

Led by the Singapore-headquartered long-term investment firm GIC, this makes it the largest funding round ever in India’s space technology sector by far.

This investment will help Skyroot boost its launch vehicle capabilities to tap into the fast-expanding global space economy that was cumulatively worth $469 billion in 2021. Moreover, 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 per cent, according to a recent estimate.

Founded in 2018 by former ISRO engineers Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharat Daka, the company plans to cater to the burgeoning demand from the international small satellite market.

“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,” co-founder & CEO of Skyroot, Pawan Kumar Chandana told Business Today.

The 200-member strong team at Skyroot is currently working on developing its flagship Vikram series of launch vehicles that are named after the founder of India’s space programme, Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. Built using an all-carbon fibre structure, the Vikram series rockets are capable of carrying up to 800 kg payloads to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

“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 this year. We are also planning a demonstrator launch to space this year,” informed the company co-founder & COO, Naga Bharat Daka.

Daka added the latest funding round will help them acquire a full-fledged commercial satellite launch scale within a year, with the company already having started booking payload slots for our upcoming launches.

The four-year-old Skyroot has successfully built and tested India’s first privately developed cryogenic, hypergolic-liquid, and solid fuel-based rocket engines. The R&D and production activities extensively use advanced composite and 3D-printing technologies.

In 2021, Skyroot became the first space technology startup to ink an MoU with the national space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for sharing facilities and expertise.

Following the fund raise, managing director GIC India Direct Investment Group, Mayank Rawat will be joining Skyroot’s Board. Rothschild & Co India were the financial advisors for the funding round.