pi Ventures leads pre-Series A funding in space-tech startup Agnikul
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Space-tech startup Agnikul said it has raised Rs 23.4 crore ($3.11 million) as part of its pre-Series A round of funding led by pi Ventures.

Others that participated in the round include LionRock’s Hari Kumar, Artha Ventures, LetsVenture, Globevestor, and IIM Ahmedabad's tech incubator Centre for Innovation Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE.CO), Agnikul said in a statement.

Existing early-stage investor Speciale Invest also pooled in capital in this round, it added.

Agnikul, which was founded by Srinath Ravichandran and Moin SPM in 2017, will use the funds for ground testing, fabrication and team expansion. It is currently operating out of National Centre for Combustion Research at IIT Chennai.

The startup is developing a satellite launch vehicle, which can support a payload range of 30-100 kgs. The company says the engine of the vehicle is 3D printed, removing manufacturing complexity associated with traditional rocket engines.

Ravichandran said the company is building nimble, reliable and modular rockets that can put small satellites in space on-demand and this investment will boost its journey to space.

There have been some investments in Indian space-tech startups.

In June last year, Bellatrix Aerospace, an Indian Institute of Science-incubated space-technology startup, 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.

Later in the year, Kawa Space, which designs and operates earth observation satellites, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

Pi Ventures

In August 2018, pi Ventures raised Rs 225 crore (around $31 million) for its debut fund, exceeding its initial target thanks to CDC Group coming in as a Limited Partner (LP) then.  

The Bengaluru-based venture capital firm focuses on investments in applied artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT).

The VC firm’s investments last year included Wysa, AI-based mental health platform, SwitchOn, industrial internet of things (IIoT) platform and FrontdeskAI, which develops AI assistants for small businesses.

It has previously invested in SigTuple, Niramai, Ten3T, Zenatix, CustomerSuccessBox and Locus.sh.

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