Desi satellite startup Pixxel raises $5 million, first launch this year

Bengaluru-based startup to launch globe-spanning nano-satellite network by 2022 end

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Pixxel, an Indian satellite-imagery startup aiming to build a constellation of satellites to provide global real-time imagery at unprecedented detail and low cost, has raised $5 million (Rs 37 crore) in a seed investment round led by venture capital firms Lightspeed India Partners, Blume Ventures and growX.

The funds will go towards the launch of the company’s first satellite, expected this year, and towards the development of the second.

In addition, the company’s board of directors will be joined by Ryan Johnson, previously founder and CEO at Blackbridge and ex-President at Planet Labs, one of the largest satellite imaging companies in the world.

“Elated to share today that @PixxelSpace has raised $5 million led by @BlumeVC, growX ventures and @LightspeedIndia.Satellite imaging veteran Ryan Johnson, @InventusIndia and Stanford Angels also participated, completing an amazing set of supporters,” tweeted Pixxel CEO and co-founder Awaiz Ahmed.

The Bengaluru-based company, founded by former Hyperloop engineering lead Awaiz Ahmed and fellow BITS Pilani graduate Kshitij Khandelwal, aims to deploy a constellation of nano-satellites into space at prices between one-fifth to one-tenth that of industry peers.

The plan is to deploy the constellation of 30 satellites by the end of 2022, following which the company’s AI platform will extract actionable insights for agriculture, urban monitoring, climate and forestry use cases. The satellites will be launched via a Soyuz rocket.

Founded in 2018, Pixxel had already raised $700,000 in preseed funding from Techstars and growX ventures in 2019.

Blume Ventures also tweeted about the funding round.

Ahmed told PTI that PixxelSpace would look to collaborate with ISRO following the move to alow participation of private space companies.

"People at ISRO have been more receptive to ideas now. We will look to collaborate with them for our future launches. We look forward to building from India for not only this country but the world," Ahmed said.

According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the global satellite imagery market is expected to be worth $5.75 billion by 2025, with Asia-Pacific to be the fastest growing market. 

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