SkyRoot Aerospace's Vikram-III future medium-weight launch vehicle (simulated image)

Skyroot Aerospace was founded by former ISRO scientists Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharat Daka in 2017Skyroot

Skyroot Aerospace has raised $11 million in its series A round of funding.

The space start-up founded by two former ISRO scientists is already taking launch bookings for next year.

It plans to have its first commercial mission off the ground mid-2022.

Indian space start-up Skyroot Aerospace has raised $11 million in its series A round of funding. This is nearly 10 times the $1.5 million the rocket building entrepreneurs, Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharat Daka, raised in 2018.

“We intend to raise $40 million more to fund our aggressive growth plans over the next few years,” said Daka, co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) of Skyroot Aerospace. The series A amount is going to go towards its rocket programme and getting their flagship vehicle, the Vikram-I, off the ground.

According to Chandana, the announcement was long pending but the team was waiting for the COVID-19 situation to become comparatively better. "We had more time for design which helped in optimising our vehicle and resulted in significant cost and time savings," explained Chandana.

Skyroot Aerospace’s Series-A was led by Greenko Group founders Anil Chalamalasetty and Mahesh Kolli. Both of them will now also be on the start-up’s board of directors along with Solar Group, a major space and defence supplier.

Other notable Investors also include former WhatsApp global business chief Neeraj Arora, Myntra and CureFit founder Mukesh Bansal — who is also the original investor from 2018 — Graph Ventures, and Worldquant Ventures.

Space technology start-ups are the next big bet for venture capitalists in India

Skyroot Aerospace is not the only space start-up raking in fresh funding. Chennai-based Agnikul Cosmos also hit $11 million in their Series-A round of funding — the largest investment in the space start-up scene after the Indian government opened up the sector to private participation less than a year ago.

“Due to the COVID-19 situation, there have been a few delays but we are looking to launch our first mission in the second half of next year,” said Srinath Ravichandran, co-founder and CEO of Agnikul Cosmos.

The start-up tested the world’s first 3D printed rocket engine Agnilet earlier this year. And, it plans on conducting more such tests later this year.