Bengaluru-based spacetech startup Digantara to Success with $2M Funding Boost led by the Birla Group

Digantara, a Bengaluru-based spacetech startup, has secured $2 million in funding from Aditya Birla Ventures and Sidbi Venture Capital, concluding its Series A funding at $12 million.

 Founded in 2018, Digantara is one of India’s leading space awareness and intelligence startups. 

It helps corporations and governments enhance space situational awareness through its Space-Mission Assurance Platform (S-MAP). The technology utilises a vast data pool to analyse space traffic, collision possibilities, and national security.

The fact is, currently, only 4% of orbiting objects get tracked. It automatically puts satellites in eternal danger. 

There is a significant gap in surveillance that could potentially be exploited for terrorism, illegal spying, ransomware, trespassing, and to contribute to space pollution.

In this regard, Digantara’s SMAP is expected to be a useful deterrence tool to ensure a safe space for future generations.

The company has also introduced STARS, a military and defence suite, and plans global expansion into the US, UK, and European Union.

The recent investment supports Digantara’s vision to innovate in the global space market, which is expected to surpass $1 trillion by the next decade. 

For context, the space awareness company raised $10 million in June 2023, led by Peak XV Partners, and $2.5 million in seed capital from Kalaari Capital in July 2021.

Chasing Space Junk

Space debris, space wars, and possible meteoric collisions are some of the threats to operational satellites. To elevate governments and corporations relying on satellite communications, three young Indians from Bengaluru formed Digantara, aiming to track debris from space itself.

CEO Anirudh Sharma, a passionate aerospace explorer, at just 22, started a student satellite team. After receiving critical feedback and scepticism, they persevered and successfully closed a project proposal for a Latin American company. The hard work paid off, paving the way for Digantara’s incorporation in 2018.

After onboarding team friends Tanveer Ahmed and Rahul Rawat, they delved deeper into space exploration and unearthed a gap in space surveillance. Compelled to pursue further, they discovered the concept of “space situational awareness” (SSA) at a conference in Germany. 

With a firm belief in the technology’s potency in recognizing and tackling space debris and other possible threats to satellites, they decided to incorporate it.

The Society for Innovation Development (SID) at IISC Bengaluru recognized their potential and granted them seed funding. Currently, they are preparing for a crucial demo mission, which entails launching a nanosatellite with their in-orbit debris monitor to validate their technology.

Challenges like component delays due to COVID-19 threaten their timeline, as the global SSA market is rapidly evolving. However, a recent partnership with Telespazio, a leading spaceflight services company, validates their approach and provides valuable market insights.

Digantara aims to offer its debris-tracking data as a service to governments, defence agencies, and commercial space companies. It aims to reduce mission operation costs by 70%. 

Despite the growth of the Indian space economy, Digantara is still attracting global investment as they believe their innovation will resolve one of the most excruciating problems of the future world.

With their determination and innovative solutions, Digantara is chasing a dream – a cleaner and safer space for future generations.

Big Plans for Future

Digantara’s next goal is to launch two space situational awareness sensors and inaugurate two observatories in India by 2025. 

Aditya Birla Group founder Aryaman Vikram Birla emphasised the potential for India to become a global leader in space innovation. 

“The global space market is expected to cross $1 trillion by the next decade. We recognize the extraordinary potential for innovation in India and its capacity to become a significant global player in this domain… The investment aligns with our vision to back outstanding founding teams, building businesses of tomorrow,” said Aryaman Birla, founder of Aditya Birla Ventures, in a company statement.

Anirudh Sharma, Digantara CEO, expressed gratitude for the VC, and GOI’s support, highlighting the momentum in India’s space ecosystem. 

“It’s heartening to witness this level of support, particularly when a leading global conglomerate like the Aditya Birla Group, and important financial institutions like Sidbi, backed by the Government of India, invest in the space sector for the first time. This move is a powerful indicator of the momentum building within India’s space ecosystem, poised for accelerated development and global leadership in space innovation,” Anirudh Sharma remarked, as per the released company statement.