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Reaching for the stars: Artha Venture Fund invests Rs 3.6 crore in Agnikul

FE Bureau

Artha Venture Fund (AVF), an early-stage micro-VC fund, has announced an investment of $500,000 ( Rs 3.6 crore) in space-tech company Agnikul in its Pre-Series A funding round. Agnikul is an aerospace startup incubated at IIT Madras' incubation cell (NCCRD). It designs and manufactures launch vehicles capable of carrying up to 100 kg of weight to Lower Earth Orbits (LEO).

AVF, which is sector agnostic, decided to invest in Agnikul as it is doing significant amount of work in the launch of small satellites by reducing the wait time and has the ability to launch from anywhere at a lower price. Also, its technology is new, involving 3-D printed engine parts, mobile launch pads, and patentable technology. The USP of Agnikul is its launch vehicles, which are less complicated when compared to large launch vehicles like PSLV and others.

Its propulsion technology and its ability to leverage additive manufacturing drove AVF to invest in it. Making space technology accessible and affordable was a key feature in Artha's decision to invest in Agnikul. Agnikul was co-founded by Srinath Ravichandran (CEO) and Moin SPM (COO) in December 2017, and the team consists of rocket scientists, engineers, ex-bankers, and space lawyers. Their mentors and advisors possess significant domain expertise.

The team plans to use the investment for product development and testing. The total funding raised in this round was $3 million. Srinath Ravichandran, Agnikul CEO, says, "We started Agnikul with the vision of making access to space easy, affordable and simple. Building a launch vehicle that can be highly modular, inexpensive and that can be launched-on -demand is how we realise this vision.

This round of funding from Artha Venture Fund, Pi Ventures, Speciale and others would allow us greater bandwidth to expand to newer horizons in vehicle building and get us closer to realising a world-class product, here, in India."