At Pixxel, they are building a health monitor for Earth by deploying hyperspectral earth imaging satellites and analytical tools to mine insight. It will be the world’s most advanced satellite imaging constellation beaming down imagery at a 50x times more detail than previous satellites. This can be utilized to bring about a lasting impact in areas like agriculture, managing climate risks and much more. They are also building a satellite imagery analysis platform that could take in terabytes of satellite imagery and extract actionable insights and patterns from that data. Our constellation can provide global coverage every 24 hours, to detect, monitor, and predict global phenomena.
Our capabilities in developing hyperspectral satellites stands them apart from others. The fundamental principle behind hyperspectral imaging is that of imaging spectroscopy. They catch light in several narrow wavelengths with hyperspectral imaging, allowing them to delve into the chemistry of the image they are recording. Instead of telling you whether a section of the farm is green or not, they can tell you what kind of crop grows there.
They already have a significant number of customers from around the world who are waiting for our satellites to launch. Currently, they rely on imagery from planes or drones. In India, they are seeing a lot of interest from the government, with Karnataka, Telangana, and Gujarat all interested in these technologies. The markets range from multibillion dollar companies, large oil and gas companies, and large mining companies to national governments around the world.
Space is a costly field that necessitates financial resources. As of now, Pixxel has raised around $7.3 million in funding. Last year, they raised the largest seed funding of $5 million from established institutional venture capital firms — Lightspeed India and Blume Ventures. Since the launch of IN-SPACe, the regulatory environment in India has improved significantly.
They have seen Digantara raise $2.3 million recently. They have seen Skyroot and Agnikul raise $11 million each as well. Investment is flowing in and all this is possible because of the opening up of Space to private sector.
Moreover, investing in Space-tech startups has now become a viable option for Indian investors. The recent announcement of the seed fund scheme for new-age firms will ensure adequate availability of funds, especially for startups with good ideas across various fields. This will also help in creating a robust ecosystem in smaller towns of the country from where innovative ideas may emerge. Schemes like this are enabling startups grow and provide a safe space to experiment, while a majority of them fail to go beyond the idea stage due to lack of funds for initial deployment and identifying product-market fit. However, fluid policies will and can provide a room for new-age entrepreneurs to access funds that are not available through traditional mode of loans.