We asked three spacetech entrepreneurs what it takes to enter the field and they listed out the opportunities

We asked three spacetech entrepreneurs what it takes to enter the field and they listed out the opportunities
  • Several big names like Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Mahindra’s Anand Mahindra have been investing in the Indian spacetech segment.
  • The $7 billion spacetech industry in India is exploding and there is a lot of room for both experts and entrepreneurs.
  • Elon Musk did not work with NASA, Pixxel’s Awais Ahmed told Business Insider to highlight that those looking to enter the sector just need to see how they can fill in the demand.
  • Check out the latest news and updates on Business Insider.
The Indian spacetech industry has been growing rapidly over the last one year and giants like Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm), Anand Mahindra (Mahindra and Mahindra) and Balaji Srinivasan (former CTO at Coinbase) have been taking notice of the unique opportunities that this niche segment provides.

The global commercial space industry was estimated to be $360 billion and the pie in India was expected to be worth about $7 billion, at the end of 2019, by consulting firm PwC. And the segment is growing at breakneck speed. There is a growing need for a whole host of experts and entrepreneurs to fill in an increasing demand across the value chain.

The space sector can be divided into two categories

UpstreamSatellite manufacturers and launchers
DownstreamActivities based on the use of data provided by space infrastructure such as broadcasting, communications, navigation and more.
But what does it take to enter a domain which is as unique and technical as space?

Business Insider spoke to three spacetech entrepreneurs at TIE Delhi’s India Internet Day conference on September 23. The early entrants of the spacetech domain — Dhruva Space’s Sanjay Nekkanti, Pixxel’s Awais Ahmed and Kawa Space’s Kris Nair — shared their inputs on the experites needed to start a spacetech business.


“You can build a system, you can build better and more accurate monitoring of methane emissions. You can build better transportation systems. If you have a much cheaper way to kind of launch a bunch of satellites to any orbit there is no doubt. You have better ideas to kind of work around or in orbit, last mile transfer, small clusters beam clusters...The opportunities are endless,” Nair added.

They all had one common thing to share — the will to start a business.

Irrespective of their own diverse backdowns, the trio have been killing it in the Indian spacetech industry with several big names backing their business.

Nair of Kawa Space, which is backed by Cure.Fit’s Mukesh Bansal and Paytm’s Sharma, noted that if someone has the desire to build something for the space industry, they just need to understand where the big gaps are. They can always build better versions of the already existing mechanisms or find the way to launch satellites for much cheaper, he added.

Ahmed’s Pixxel further added that one does not need any connections with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) or be connected to the space industry from the beginning.

The Internet is a great place to learn since there are PhD studies, reports, books and the reading material available on it, he said. Besides this, one can always reach out to entrepreneurs in this domain over social media platforms like LinkedIn to understand more about the segment.

“The biggest space entrepreneur today, Elon Musk, was not associated with anything related to space. He learnt,” Ahmed added.

Speaking from his engineering experience, Dhruva Space’s Nekkanti added there is a lot of scoop for growth hacking as a lot of technologies that are built for earth can come in handy for space operations as well with certain updates.

“So, for people who want to be an entrepreneur in this industry if you have an, I talk from an engineer's perspective, if you have an engineering degree. You're currently working somewhere, it could be the IT industry. I think there could be some parts of that that can be applied in the space industry,” he added.

Even funding is not a challenge

The Indian space sector was valued at $7 billion back in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of $50 billion by 2024, a PWC report estimates.

Funding and garnering the interest of the investors was definitely one of the biggest challenges that the Indian spacetech industry faced until last year. There were no policies around it and investors simply didn’t want to take the risk.

Mumbai Angels-backed Dhruva and Techstars-backed Pixxel had to talk to 100s of investors before they could actually close a funding round, However, the segment saw a ray of hope when the Indian government decided to privatise the space and allowed more companies to enter this domain.

On May 21 earlier this year, both Anand Mahindra-backed Agnikul and Mukesh Bansal-backed Skyroot bagged $11 million each from several big names in the industry. These were the biggest rounds that Indian spacetech startups have raised to date.

ALSO WATCH: Some of the India’s biggest tycoons are wetting their feet in the space sector, Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations' Dr.Chaitanya Girtold Business Insider.


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