Pixxel: Bengaluru-based space tech start-up raises $5 million
In a major development, Bengaluru-based space tech start-up Pixxel has raised $5 million in seed funding. The investment was led by Blume Ventures, growX ventures, and Lightspeed India, with participation from a number of angel investors, including Inventus Capital India, Stanford Angels, and Ryan Johnson, an earth imaging veteran. Here is more about Pixxel and its work.
Founded in early 2019 by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, Pixxel is a young start-up geared towards the goal of setting up a constellation of the "world's most advanced Earth-imaging satellites." The network will cover the entire world and produce regular images of geographical features and phenomena in a quality that is not currently possible for imaging satellite systems that are already in orbit.
Pixxel had received pre-seed funding of $700,000 in 2019, and with the latest round, the start-up will expand its team, develop its image-capturing and data-analysis technology, and set up the constellation. Its first satellite is slated to go up in space later this year, possibly by November, on a Soyuz rocket from Russia, while the second one is expected to follow sometime by mid-2021.
Once the hardware reaches orbit and is proven to be working, Pixxel plans to set up 30 of these satellites, each matching a mini-fridge, by 2022-2023. Awais said the funding "provides enough capital for a couple of backup launches in case the first one doesn't go well...[and] it's also enough money for us to achieve our next milestone of having hardware up in space."
Notably, the high-quality data generated by Pixxel's satellite network will be analyzed by the company's proprietary machine and deep learning models. This technology, Pixxel says, will help its customers detect, monitor, and potentially even predict global problems and phenomena. "Our satellites will bring down the benefits of space down to earth and help us see the unseen through a unique dataset," Awais stated.
"Pixxel has identified a unique opportunity in the remote sensing space, to solve huge problems across industries that have never been tackled before. The time for space tech is now, driven by many tailwinds - the proliferation of microsatellites, reduced launch costs, and...real-time deep intelligence."
In the long run, Pixxel hopes to use these satellites "as a catalyst to open up cheap access to the entire Solar System." Ahmed tells NewsBytes, "By deploying swarms of Pixxel's satellites, exploring the moon and Mars for potential landing sites becomes easier, identifying water and other precious resources on the Moon, Mars becomes cheaper and exploring any planetary body becomes much more accessible."