Space tech startup, Pixxel has raised $5 million in a seed funding round led by Blume Ventures, growX ventures and Lightspeed India. The round also saw participation from Inventus Capital India and other angel investors including Stanford Angels and Ryan Johnson.
The Bengaluru-based startup had earlier raised $700,000 in seed fund from Techstars and growX Ventures in June, last year.
Conceptualised by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, Pixxel will deploy the capital to launch its first satellite in November on a Russia-based Soyuz rocket and build and launch its another satellite in 2021. Besides, a portion of the investment will be utilised to develop its proprietary data platform for the analysis of satellite images.
In future, Pixxel plans to create a constellation of 30 earth imaging satellites that will be up in space between the end of 2022 and mid-2023. The company has lined up customers such as Satsure and Skymet, to buy its data in India, along with other global agriculture, oil and gas and weather tracking companies.
Pixxel has been working with its AI models that could take in terabytes of satellite imagery and extract actionable insights and patterns from that data to help tackle problems in agriculture, urban monitoring, climate and forestry.
For example, it can predict yields and track the spread of certain crop pests and diseases, detect illegal mining, monitor natural disasters and forest fires. However, the satellite images are generally years old, which propelled Pixxel to enter the field of satellite imagery.
The company further claims to build and operate satellites with 1/10th of the cost required by global rivals in this segment. In India, Pixxel has some notable competitors including Agnikul, Bellatrix and Skyroot.
Last year, Pixxel had participated in the inaugural class of the Techstars Startup Space Accelerator which included NASA JPL, US Air Force, Lockheed Martin and Maxar.