Pixxel funding

Pixxel, a Bengaluru-based spacetech startup has secured investments from investors like Omnivore VC, Techstars, and others as it closed its seed funding round at $7.3 Mn. The recent investments are an extension to the round that the company announced in August last year when the company was backed by a group of investors.

In 2020, Pixxel had acquired funding of $5 Mn from Indian VC firms Lightspeed India, growX ventures, Blume Ventures, Inventus Capital India besides angel network Stanford Angels and Ryan Johnson, a veteran in the Earth-imaging space. Johnson, former president at Planet Labs, one of the largest satellite imaging companies in the world, joined the board of directors at Pixxel.

Pixel was founded in 2019 by Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal and works for developing and launching Earth-imaging satellites for commercial and industrial applications. With the recent funding round, the startup also announced its expansion into hyperspectral imaging. This is a technique that uses light frequencies to analyze minute and invisible on-ground changes via a network of satellites. The company says it is planning to provide imaging at the highest resolution commercially available, through its constellation of satellites that will provide real-time 24-hour global coverage.

Till now, hyperspectral imaging has been used to examine migration patterns of insects, birds, pests, and other animals, as well as observing chemical leaks or other such environmental-related issues. It can also be utilized for the planning of cities and so on. According to a TechCrunch report, Pixxel will be launching its first hyperspectral imaging satellite for operations on orbit within the next few months, though there is no specified date yet.

The startup faced some hindrance in its Earth-imaging satellite launch last month. As part of ISRO’s PSLV C51 mission, it was scheduled to launch India’s first Earth-imaging satellite into space on Feb 28 but ran into a complication after software glitches were discovered during the final stages of satellite testing. In a media statement, the company said that it would delay the launch by a few weeks to carry out further testing.

Pixxel had scheduled to launch its first satellite in mid-2020 with the help of a Russian Soyuz rocket, but the launch date had to be postponed to late 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last December, the launch date was once again pushed as the company decided to partner with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch its satellite on Feb 28 this year.

The partnership came not long after the launch of the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre or In-SAPCe, last year, an independent nodal agency under the Department of Space (DoS) to empower startups to use the department’s facilities and strengthen spacetech innovations.

The team at Pixxel consists of a mix of new-age thinkers and, armed with a non-conformist approach to problem-solving and experts with decades of expertise in the space sector. The startup currently has job openings for Data Scientists, ML DevOps engineers, and Remote Sensing and Computer Vision scientists. Applications for these positions can be sent by visiting the careers section of the company’s website.