Deepika Padukone invests in Indian space start-up: Details here
Bengaluru-based space start-up Bellatrix Aerospace has raised $3 million from Bollywood diva Deepika Padukone and six other venture capitalists. The 14-member company, incubated at the IISc, has been working on a new kind of thruster system for launching satellites into space. Now, with the latest investment, it plans to demonstrate this technology and build its own small launch vehicle. Here are the details.
Founding round led by IDFC-Parampara
The team at Bellatrix raised $3 million in a pre-Series A round led by IDFC-Parampara, StartupXseed, Karsemven Fund, and Survam Partners. The group of investors participating in the round also included GrowX Ventures, Deepika Padukone through KA Enterprises, and the incubators CIIE (from IIM Ahmedabad) and SINE (from IIT Bombay). To note, Bellatrix is one of the few space-tech start-ups flourishing in India.
How they plan to use these funds
Going by reports, Bellatrix Aerospace will use these funds for expanding its 14 member team and demonstrating its thruster technology. The company has been working on electric and non-toxic thrusters for launching all sizes of satellites. It plans to demonstrate the technology in space and is currently reviewing NASA and ESA's guidelines to ensure their tech matches global standards.
Affordability is the unique selling point
One of the first electric thrusters developed by the company is a propulsion system that runs on water, making a cleaner alternative for the regular thrusters. It also promises three times longer lifespan and a low price, which would make it easier for companies to take their satellites, even the big ones, into orbit. Even ISRO has joined the development work of the thrusters.
Here's what Bellatrix's co-founder said after the investment
"Coming from India, one of the things we can offer is a very affordable price tag with the frugal engineering that we are able to bring," Bellatrix co-founder Yashas Karanam told SpaceNews, noting that "the aim is to be a global player."
Private space sector growing in India
The latest funding round shows that private space-tech start-ups are finally coming into the fore in India, much like the US and China. According to Reuters, more than a dozen start-ups focused on developing satellites, rockets and related support systems are currently mushrooming in India. They could ultimately give a major boost to the government-driven space program of India.