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IDFC Parampara, Deepika Padukone & others invest in space-tech startup Bellatrix
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Bellatrix Aerospace, an Indian Institute of Science-incubated space-technology startup, has raised $3 million (Rs 21 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round led by IDFC-Parampara, StartupXseed, Karsemven Fund (KITVEN) and Survam Partners, the family office of Suman Kant Munjal.

Other investors participating in the round include actress Deepika Padukone (through KA Enterprises LLP), GrowX Ventures, CIIE (an incubator of IIM Ahmedabad) and SINE (an incubator of IIT Bombay), the startup said on Sunday.

The deal pegs the post-money valuation of Bellatrix around $10 million (Rs 70 crore), it is learnt.

Bellatrix is a solution provider for in-space propulsion systems. It was founded in 2015 by Rohan Ganapathy and Yashas Karanam and over the years has worked on development of propulsion systems (thrusters) for all classes of satellites ranging from heavy (greater than 2 tonnes) to micro and nano satellites.

These in-space propulsion systems add operational life and enhance mission capabilities in satellites and leads to increased revenue for the satellite operator, it said.

Since 2016, Bellatrix started working with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and other undisclosed customers, with plans to tap into the multi-billion dollar space industry.

Ganapathy, co-founder of Bellatrix, said, “During the coming months, we will be subjecting our thrusters to rigorous ground qualification tests and also work on key innovations that will make our products stand out. We will also be expanding to key global locations.”

The company is currently in the process of striking strategic partnerships and also collaborate for in-orbit demonstration of its products.

Eiliant Advisors was the sole financial adviser to Bellatrix for this transaction.

Space-tech startups

Team Indus and Astrome are among other space-tech startups that have raised funding in the past.

Team Indus, operated by Axiom Research Labs Pvt. Ltd, was founded in February 2011 by IIT-Delhi alumnus Rahul Narayan and Indranil Chakraborty. It attracted angel investments from the likes of Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, Sasken Communications' Raji Mody and TVS Group's Venu Srinivasan.

It also received funding from Jagdish Mehta of CTS India, Aspire Systems' Gowri Subramanian, Anand Deshpande of Persistent Systems and stock market investors Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Ashish Kacholia and RK Damani. It had pursued a large institutional round in 2016.

Also in 2016, former Nokia executive Ajith Sukumaran invested in space technology company Astrome Technologies Pvt. Ltd as part of a pre-Series A round of funding. The company was founded by Indian Institute of Science alumni Neha Satak and Prasad HL Bhat in 2015.

The company provides high-speed broadband internet through satellites. According to its website, it claims it can deliver high-speed internet at just $1.6 (around Rs 111.25) per square kilometre as opposed to $3,300 (around Rs 2.29 lakh) per square kilometre with traditional terrestrial networks.

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