[Funding alert] Spacetech startup Pixxel raises $25M in Series A led by Radical Ventures
, a Los Angeles and Bengaluru based cutting-edge earth-imaging tech startup, on Monday announced that it has raised $25 million in Series A funding — in what claims to be the India’s largest fundraise by a space technology company to date.
The funding was led by Radical Ventures, a Toronto-based firm known for investing in entrepreneurs who use artificial intelligence to transform massive industries. Additional participation came from Jordan Noone, Seraphim Space Investment, Lightspeed Partners, Blume Ventures, Sparta LLC, and Inventus Capital India.
According to the official statement, the fresh capital will enable Pixxel to expedite production of the world’s highest resolution hyperspectral satellite constellation and to offer industry AI-powered insights that discover, solve, and predict climate issues at a fraction of traditional satellite costs.
“We’re committed to providing a critical tool in the fight against climate change, helping researchers and on-the-ground responders detect and develop effective strategies to combat imminent environmental threats. This funding will not only assist us with this goal but will help us improve our software capabilities so that organizations of all sizes can access and understand this data,” said Awais Ahmed, CEO at Pixxel.
The startup is launching the first of its hyperspectral satellites as a part of SpaceX’s upcoming April Transporter-4 mission. These Earth-imaging microsatellites have 50x higher resolution than existing multispectral counterparts and unlike drone or land-based multispectral sensors, Pixxel will be able to capture data at global scale.
Traditional Earth imaging collects data in the visible light spectrum, limiting the end use cases. Hyperspectral imaging collects data across 40x more wavelengths and can be used for a myriad of applications in India such as monitoring methane emissions, quantifying carbon sequestration, and monitoring disease outbreaks across cropland.
Pixxel’s platform unlocks a range of novel environment and sustainability use cases, offering tools for agriculture, oil and gas, mining, and environmental agencies to analyse geospatial composites of the Earth’s surface in real-time through a simple API.
The startup said it also recently successfully retrieved its first hyperspectral satellite images from a camera that was launched last year with partners NanoAvionics and Dragonfly Aerospace. The photos captured the crop health of a Mexican farmland, showing previously indistinguishable soil nutrient content, early stress identifiers, water quality levels, and types of flora in the vegetation.
“Pixxel’s satellites stand to be game changers for the satellite imaging industry. Equipped with AI and machine learning technology built by an impressive team, Pixxel’s technology closely aligns with how we believe AI can change the world for good and we’re excited to support them on this journey,” added Parasvil Patel of Radical Ventures.
Launched in 2019 by 20-year-olds Awais Ahmed and Kshitij Khandelwal, Pixxel is creating a health monitor for the planet by building and launching the hyperspectral imaging satellites. It claims to have worked with notable organisations such as the ISRO, NASA JPL and SpaceX among space stalwarts. It is also backed by Lightspeed, Radical Ventures, Relativity's Jordan Noone, Seraphim Capital, Ryan Johnson, Blume Ventures, Sparta LLC, growX ventures, Inventus Capital, and Omnivore VC among others.
Lewis Jones, Investment Manager at Seraphim Space, stated,
“Pixxel sets itself apart with a novel imaging approach, making it able to retain a very high spatial and spectral resolution while using cost-effective satellites and compact satellites. Pixxel's constellation will be vital for applications such as monitoring the health of crops, measuring climate risks such as floods and famine, and detecting pipeline leaks."