Astrotourism for everyone

Gurugram-based astro-tourism startup Starscapes offers private observatories with professional equipment for observations, astrophotography, and research projects.
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Hello Reader,

Here’s a wholesome story to start your weekend: A Japanese nursing home has employed 32 “baby workers”—all under the age of 4—to spend time with its residents, who are mostly in their 80s. 

It’s a win-win situation for both parties. For the ageing residents at Ichoan Nursing Home, life can be lonely and the babies bring energy and brighten up their lives. Parents of these children, who are mostly too small for school or daycare, say that Ichoan gives their kids a rare opportunity to socialise safely, especially amid COVID-19.

In other news, foldables are winning Indian users. At the close of pre-booking on Thursday, Samsung India said it got over 100,00 orders for its latest foldables—Galaxy Z Flip4 and Galaxy Z Fold4.

To be fair, the lure of snapping your phone shut after an unpleasant phone call is pretty tempting.

ICYMI: We are launching Your Story with Shradha Sharma, a chance for you to have a candid and unfiltered conversation with the Founder of YourStory. 

Click here for more details.

In today’s newsletter, we will talk about 

  • Astrotourism for everyone
  • Skyroot Aerospace raises $51M
  • Funding report: August’22

Here’s your trivia for today: Where was the first polo club located?


Startup

Astrotourism for everyone

If you live in a city and look up at the night sky, you may only find a handful of twinkling stars. But if you travel away from urbanisation, the universe reveals its magnanimity. 

Starscapes Experiences wishes to offer this experience to anyone interested in the skies. As India’s first platform focused on “delivering an integrated astronomy experience,” it offers private observatories with professional equipment for observations, astrophotography, and research projects.

Star-gazing:

  • The startup organises events such as night sky shows, solar observations, star parties etc to offer astronomy experiences.
  • Starscapes has partnered with small homestays and hotels to provide an astronomy experience at their locations.
  • It has public and private observatories in Kausani and Bhimtal in Uttarakhand, one in Ooty, and a mobile observatory in Jaipur. 

Spacetech

Skyroot Aerospace raises $51M

The growing Indian spacetech sector is also attracting the attention of investors. In one of the largest fundraises for the sector, Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace secured $51 million (Rs 403 crore) in a Series B round led by GIC. 

“This round puts us on a trajectory of hyper-growth by funding all of our initial developmental launches, and enables building infrastructure to meet high launch cadence required by our satellite customers," said Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-founder and CEO of Skyroot.

Key points:

  • Mayank Rawat, Managing Director of GIC India Direct Investment Group, will be joining the startup's board.
  • Skyroot plans to use the funding to cater to the growing demand from the international small satellite market.
  • Rothschild & Co India was the financial advisor for this funding round.

Startup ecosystem

Funding report: August’22

The Indian startup ecosystem is facing tough times. With global recession looming, the venture funding crunch has hit India's shores, with July seeing a mere $652.7 million over 116 deals.

According to YourStory Research, August fared better, with $1.08 billion across 135 deals—a 66.1% improvement over the previous month. However, this is 67.9% lower than the $3.38 billion raised over 141 deals last August.

State of funding:

  • Nearly all sectors were impacted by low funding activity in August except early-stage startups which posted an 11.6% improvement.
  • January has been the best month of the year when it comes to investments, securing $3.9 billion.
  • The fintech and financial services sector ($4.05 billion: 211 deals) accounted for 21.5% of the total fundraise during the eight months of 2022.

News & updates

  • Fast track: India will try out a strategy of parallel testing to speed up safety approvals for new electronic devices that could boost device launch plans by the likes of Samsung and Apple. This comes as India scrambles to remove bottlenecks faced by businesses.
  • IM trouble: In 2018 and 2019, as JPMorgan Chase bankers chased lucrative mandates from an aggressively expanding WeWork, they fired off messages to one of their most high-profile clients at a frenetic pace. But as they did so, they broke rules governing communications on Wall Street.
  • Deal time: Meta and Qualcomm are teaming up to develop custom chipsets for virtual reality products. The two have signed a multi-year agreement “to collaborate on a new era of spatial computing,” using Qualcomm’s “extended reality” (XR) Snapdragon technology. 
  • Rethinking: SoftBank is planning to cut at least 20% of staff at its loss-churning Vision Fund operation, following public pledges from Masayoshi Son to reduce headcount at the world’s biggest tech investor. 

What you should watch out for

  • NASA’s second attempt to launch Artemis I to the Moon.

Where was the first polo club located?

Answer:  The first polo club was established in Silchar (Assam, India) in 1833.


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