“We are quite fortunate that there is a good amount of interest even for our first orbital launch next year,” said Pawan Kumar Chandana, one of the co-founders. “However, the first couple of missions will be to promote the technology per se. And once we have one or two launches next year, from 2024 we plan to ramp up production so that by the end of 2025, we at least do around two launches per month – by that time I think there’ll be great revenue flow and sustainable profit margins,” he added.
The company’s next focus is on Vikram-1, its first orbital mission. It has been scheduled for the fourth quarter of next year and its success is likely to increase the customer interest in the company’s offerings. “We will be signing long term deals going forward in 2024 and 2025 when we see really good revenues kicking in and also hopefully break even,” Chandana said.
Raising a cumulative funding of $ 68 million ahead of its maiden launch, Skyroot is the country’s largest funded space startup. “At each stage from the seed to series B round, we have been breaking the ceiling of funding which was very challenging for a deep tech – especially – space tech startup in India”, Chandana told ET while interacting on the Morning Brief podcast.
However, given its launch pipeline, the company will continue to require funding to support its missions. “Building a launch vehicle or a satellite is extremely expensive. Being a capital-intensive domain in which we need to work in, it is imperative to raise a good amount of funds to be able to achieve our milestones” says Naga Bharath Daka, the other co-founder. “But being in India, one of the key advantages we have is that a good amount of the aerospace grid vendor ecosystem is already developed by the government agencies like ISRO over the past decades. So as Skyroot, what we are essentially bringing to the table of the private industry is the expertise of designing and owning the quality control of an aerospace system, which has not been well privatised so far,” he added.
So, the company has the advantage of leveraging the existing aerospace grid manufacturing ecosystem to build its first proprietary product. “So, all our funding, we’ve been investing in our people and on the rocket we are developing instead of huge capital goods equipment for the machinery that is needed to produce these aspects. And of course, further down the line, we’ll be internalising multiple aspects of manufacturing that get critical to us,” Daka added.
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Both Chandana and Daka are IIT graduates and former ISRO employees. They founded Skyroot in 2018 and two years later the government opened the commercial space sector for the private players. The company has till now received five rounds of funding from motley bunch of investors such as Myntra founder Mukesh Bansal, Greenko founders Anil Chalamalasetty and Mahesh Kolli, investor Ram Shriram, Laxmi and Aditya Mittal Family Office and Singapore’s sovereign fund GIC.
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