Since the beginning of mankind, Space has always been the final frontier for us. Countless thinkers, innovators, founders and philosophers have spent countless days looking towards the sky for imagination, inspiration and innovation.
Space is mythical and all the ancient cultures and religions of humans have involved celestial objects and bodies in one form or the other. For some cultures, space was part of the natural compass which allowed them to cross the treacherous waters of the pacific with minimal technology and for some cultures space has been the house for powerful gods.
Every superhero be it Batman and Spiderman or The Avengers have fought their most vicious enemies in Space, or their most vicious enemies were from outer space. These examples clearly showcase how important space has been for humans in all aspects of mankind.
For Science, Space is a vast open playground to learn, discover and disrupt the way we look at the world, its principals and theories.
Use of technology in space for valuable gains and efficiency is not a new idea, we have harnessed space from last roughly about 100 years, planes fly in space, satellites work in space etc. Space is the vast unknown that excites and haunts us at the same time.
- Space can provide us with a solution to the problems that over-exploitation of our planet has resulted in, that is what we want.
- Space gives us hope that by incorporating technology in space we will be able to find solutions to overpopulation, more resources, alternative energy sources and more efficient mechanisms which will warn us about impending natural hazards will make our communications more streamlined and better, will help us in tracking important aspects about our planet, its habitats and resources.
- Space has the potential to become the key code to the majority of the cyphers that nature has presented us with.
These factors have led to a massive flow of capital towards the development of Space tech over the years.
Though initially, the only sovereign focused, in last 15 or so years pioneers like Elon Musk and Richard Branson have understood the importance of space and have put up major resources to develop technologies which can help our future to look bright and can facilitate growth and development on a global level.
Space tech as a sector was worth roughly around 415 Billion USD in 2018 and has grown leaps and bounds in the last 10 years.
Global Banking giant Morgan Stanley believes that the space tech industry will become a trillion-dollar industry by 2040, low orbit satellites and reusable rockets will pave the way followed by other sub-sectors.
Subsectors under space tech like satellite imaging tech are in themselves valued at more than a Billion USD and growing strongly. There are some brilliant founders who have come up with some nerve-wracking solutions with the potential to change the world in this space.
- Majority of funding in the sector till date has been from the global sovereign bodies like NASA of US, ISRO of India, Chinese Space Agency, European Space Agency etc.
- The sector has opened gradually and has attracted hefty private equity and venture capital focus in the last 10 years.
- This can be opening up of the market can be attributed to the fact that institutions and investors now have the capability to make massive investments in the sector and as the global trend of more transparency and openness have led to developed and developing countries to open up the doorway to sectors of systematic importance for private enterprises.
In India, regulatory support towards space tech has been robust in the last few years with multiple startups coming online in the sector throughout the country.
Government of Kerala has established first of its kind space park in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram, in 2019. The facility will act as an incubator, accelerator and a skill training centre for startups operating in the sector.
Bangalore based Indian startup, Pixxel will launch its first low orbit imagining satellite in November of this year on a Russian Soyuz rocket. Pixxel’s imaging satellite will help in collecting AI-powered analytical data which will support different industries and organisation in decision making and insight generation.
Grow X ventures have been a prominent Angel Investor in Pixxel and in the category. While Mumbai based Kawa Space is spearheading and developing satellite-based communication technologies. Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma is one of the angel investors in Kawa Space.
Venture Capital investments in space tech investments have been stratospheric in recent years and we can expect with no doubt that these investments will hit new highs in the coming years. These have been some of the top investors in the space. Venture capitalist invested more than 2 Billion
USD in space tech in the year 2019, which was 300 million USD higher than the total amount of 1.7 Billion USD in 2018, though the deal count was lesser like any other sector space teach investors have developed a clear process of identifying winners and are taking strategic bets accordingly.
There is a reason why space is called the final frontier because that is all that our eyes can see.
Only time will tell whether space is the final frontier for mankind or is a gateway to endless frontiers each harbouring its own ideas. One thing is certain that space tech is here to stay and can have a meaningful impact on the lives of citizens all over the globe.
Written by Ayush Dadhich & Manas Vashistha
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