5 Hot Satcom startups in India

From super high-resolution imaging to rich satellite-driven data services and even white-label on-demand satellites, India’s top Satcom startups are ready to roar

VoicenData Bureau
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Satcom startups

Satcom startups

From super high-resolution imaging to rich satellite-driven data services and even white-label on-demand satellites, India’s top Satcom startups are ready to roar


Back in June 2020, the central government opened the doors of India’s then-controlled space sector for private industry infusion. Since then, India has made multiple impressive strides, culminating in the first-ever launch of a privately-built rocket in November 2022. But the industry has not remained restricted to just this, for it has continued to see innovation at a breakneck pace. Alongside receiving its own Geospatial Policy in December 2022 and Space Policy in April 2023, this fledgling sector has also been home to multiple impressive startups in the satellite-driven communications or the Satcom industry.

Each of these startups has since gone on to scale new highs, including generating funding from famous, storied global investors such as PeakXV Partners (formerly Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia) and Google. These startups also serve unique points by themselves, offering technologies that very few others in the entire nation do. From intra-satellite communications in space to satellite-based data analytics, ultra-high precision imagery and even white-label commercial communications satellite manufacturing, India’s Satcom startups are defying what early-stage startups can achieve.

On this note, here is taking a peek at the five hot Satcom startups in India (listed in alphabetical order), including issues that each is looking to solve, the progress that they have made, and the future that each may hold in national and global industries. Each of them has also received considerable government interest in not just backing them but also becoming their partners and customers, thereby showing that the domestic Satcom industry is not reserved just for the likes of Airtel’s OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink.



Year of Incorporation: 2017

Founders: Nitish Singh (CEO) and


Aditya Kedlaya (COO)

Set up by Nitish Singh and Aditya Kedlaya, Astrogate Labs is a Satcom startup that is actively engaged in creating fundamental infrastructure technology for satellite communications, both for satellite-to-ground stations and for satellite-to-satellites.

The company is focusing on changing the way ground stations communicate with satellites in orbit by replacing radio frequency broadcasts from satellites with laser optics. In an interview with a business newspaper, Singh said that the startup can offer precision satellite communications using lasers to lands as small as 500 square metres. Besides, it can also help companies retrofit laser communications modules on their satellites to amplify the bandwidth, latency and speed of their satellites used in communications. This is a crucial aspect since bandwidth and latency are essentially the two most important aspects of satellite operations.


It has already won its first major client, too—in August last year, Bengaluru-based space data company SatSure announced a strategic investment in Astrogate to incorporate its technology into the former’s satellite operations subsidiary, called KalediEO. This will use Astrogate’s laser-driven satellite communications bandwidth of 1 Gbps, to give SatSure high throughput small satellites—a sophisticated, in-demand technology in modern-day Satcom parlance.

The mission, alongside integrating Astrogate’s data transfer technology, will also use its ground terminals, thereby showcasing unique solutions and use cases that the startup can offer.

Confidence in Astrogate’s abilities was reflected in SatSure’s investment, which will culminate in the launch of four earth observation satellites by the latter by 2025, according to media reports. SatSure, which itself has been invested in by Baring PE Partners and Promus Ventures in a USD 15 million series-A round in September 2023, will use Astrogate’s tech as a key part of its offering.


As Prateep Basu, CEO and Co-founder of SatSure said about Astrogate, “Having developed various application suites across sectors ranging from agriculture to aviation, we will cover the entire earth observation data value chain by venturing upstream with our fleet of microsatellites. Our investment in Astrogate Labs aims to improve the utilisation of the massive amount of data that we will be generating from our satellites, by de-bottlenecking the downlink of it to Earth.”

Astrogate Labs is changing the way ground stations communicate with satellites by replacing radio frequency broadcasts from satellites with laser optics.



Year of Incorporation: 2012

Founders: Sanjay Nekkanti (CEO), Chaitanya Dora Surapureddy (CFO), Krishna Teja Penamakuru (COO), and Abhay Egoor (CTO)

Dhruva Space, among India’s other Satcom players, distinguishes itself by providing satellites, Earth stations, and launch services either as an integrated solution or as individual technology offerings to support space-based applications. As a Satcom startup exploring fundraising, Dhruva Space aims to significantly impact India’s Satcom industry infrastructure. The company is also focussing on becoming a white-label satellite manufacturer and deployer, potentially representing private companies and research entities globally.


Critical to Dhruva’s potential success, alongside any upcoming funding rounds, will be its 280,000-square feet manufacturing facility in Telangana, set in a 6.5-acre land allocated to it by the state government. The facility will develop and build a whole range of crucial Satcom infrastructure that includes space-grade solar panels, ground station equipment for satellite data transmission and reception, orbital deployers for putting contracted satellite clients in orbit, and platforms that also offer companies and academic entities the option to let Dhruva build satellites for them—based on reference technical designs.

Speaking about the startup’s capabilities, its CEO and Co-founder Sanjay Nekkanti said in response to Voice&Data’s questions, “In the space industry, we see satellite companies only focusing on building satellites, launch vehicle companies only manufacturing rockets, and ground station companies working on Earth stations. Globally, a very limited number of full-stack space companies offer an end-to-end solution for customers looking to launch and communicate with their space assets. Providing a full-stack solution is Dhruva’s competitive advantage. Another of our key advantages is that our satellite platforms are application- and payload-agnostic, so we can serve any customer according to their requirements.”

Through this, Dhruva can potentially become a key upstream player in the Satcom race, and in the long run, become a crucial private company for the overall space and Satcom industry akin to the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman. Alongside corporate contracts, defence operations would also be key for Dhruva going forward. It also fits into India’s narrative of looking to create a USD 13-billion space economy by 2025, by capturing more than 2% of the world’s space and satellite operations.

Dhruva Space aims to become a full-stack company offering end-to-end solutions for customers looking to launch and communicate with their space assets.


Year of Incorporation: 2018

Founders: Anirudh Sharma (CEO), Rahul Rawat (COO), and Tanveer Ahmed (CTO)

Bengaluru-headquartered Satcom and space-tech startup, Digantara, became a significantly prominent name in the industry after Peak XV Partners, formerly Sequoia Capital India, led the startup’s USD 12-million series-A funding round. This was a likely trickle-down effect of a marquee investor backing a startup—after all, Digantara was the first publicly-announced investment for Peak XV, and the Shailendra Singh/Rajan Anandan-backed investor comes with indelible ties to the much-storied Sequoia.

Naturally, the backing of such an investor catapults a startup to prominence, making Digantara one of the most promising satellite communications startups in the country today. The startup works to develop what it describes as a map for all satellites and debris in space. By using its constellation of micro-satellites equipped with cutting-edge sensor technologies, Digantara seeks to become a stakeholder in the nascent global Space Situational Awareness (SSA) industry.

The latter is a purely data-driven industry for intra-satellite communications that are already up and deployed in orbit. By using satellites and sensors, Digantara will create a map of objects that are in space. By doing so, it will offer any company running a space operation the ability to allow their satellites to communicate with one another, ‘see’ where they are and create cautious trajectories in space.

Investors have flagged Digantara’s targeted SSA industry to be of massive significance and prospect in the long run. For one, private estimates peg the total number of satellites in orbit at around 8,300. Along with these, there is also a vast amount of space debris left up in the orbit, all of which pose risks and concerns for any space mission in future—with space orbits around Earth only set to become even more cluttered.

Then, there is geopolitics. With time, satellite communications are increasingly becoming strategically important for nations and concerns around space warfare are not fiction anymore. All of this leaves Digantara as possibly the greatest prospect of becoming a behemoth space corporation by offering all of Earth’s orbital data to governments and corporations worldwide. Media reports quoting its CEO and Co-founder Anirudh Sharma indicate that the company is already working with government and defence agencies in Singapore and the United Kingdom, and its first-generation commercial space data service is set to commence operations in April this year.

Digantara is building a platform to support stakeholders across the value chain with accurate datasets and precise determination of orbital insights.


Year of Incorporation: 2020

Founders: Suyash Singh (CEO), Denil Chawda (CTO), Rakshit Bhatt (VP – Products),

Kishan Thakkar (VP – Engineering), and

Pranit Mehta (VP – Business Development)

Yet another impressive satellite-based Satcom data startup is GalaxEye, founded by five IIT Madras alumni. The company has massive room for growth, having last raised a USD 3.5-million seed funding round back in December 2022.

The year 2024 promises to be massive for GalaxEye, which seeks to offer high-precision satellite-based imagery and data for industries that require sensor-based information such as weather and natural disaster prediction agencies, telecommunications, and more. In August last year, the company demonstrated working proof of its technology aboard a drone, when it offered its multi-sensor satellite sensing technology by putting it on a drone. This year, the challenge will get stiffer as GalaxEye nears the launch of its first satellite into orbit.

Speaking about the startup’s objectives, GalaxEye’s CEO and Co-founder Suyash Singh, said, “Our overarching objective is to build the most comprehensive dataset. Despite its high interpretability, optical data is frequently hindered by factors like low light conditions, fog and cloud cover, rendering it less accessible. Conversely, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) emerges as a promising solution due to its ability to penetrate through clouds and fog. However, the interpretation of SAR images is not straightforward. To surmount these challenges, our current focus centres on the development of advanced multimodal, multi-sensor payloads. These payloads are meticulously designed to capture both kinds of data and fuse it on the edge, transcending the limitations of individual sensing modalities. The intention is not solely to obtain information, but to derive meaningful insights from the synergistic combination of SAR and optical data.”

Once up and running, GalaxEye has so far promised that it will offer industry-leading Satcom-based data analytics services to contractors and sub-contractors. In an interview with The Economic Times, Singh said that one of its early demonstrative contractors was working in wastewater harvesting—wherein a data analytics agency sourced the data from the startup through its demo satellite in space and used its own inferred actionable insights to offer results to their clients.

That is the kind of model that GalaxEye wants to regularise, once it nears frequent, smooth commercial operations.

GalaxEye is building the world’s first multi-sensor imaging satellite to enable governments and businesses to perform advanced geospatial analyses.


Year of Incorporation: 2019

Founders: Awais Ahmed (CEO) and

Kshitij Khandelwal (CTO)

Pixxel created history by becoming the first private space startup in India to receive funding from a global venture capital fund, Canada’s Radical VC, way back in March 2022. The company’s investment saga hit another impressive milestone after it became the first space-tech and Satcom startup in India to raise funding from Google’s investment arm in June last year. All of this goes on to showcase Pixxel’s potential as one of India’s foremost private Satcom startups right now.

Pixxel’s main area of focus is on hyperspectral satellite imagery. By operating a host of high-resolution satellites in a constellation configuration around the orbit, Pixxel gathers super high-resolution imagery of the terrestrial surface. It then offers this raw data in two formats—one, companies can simply license the imaging from Pixxel, and use it for its inferences. The second scope that Pixxel leaves open is in its data analytics service, wherein the company uses its imagery to offer advanced analytics for on-ground and atmospheric conditions. Companies, in turn, can license the analytics from Pixxel’s service repertoire.

The core structure of operation here, therefore, lies in serving satellite-driven data to companies, which can aid a wide range of industries that include communications, defence operations, environmental operations including emergency rescues of wildfires in remote locations, maritime services, and so on.

The proliferation of Satcom services in strategic data analytics has been a steadily developing front, and media reports indicate that the company is likely to commence full-fledged operations after successful trial phases as early as June this year. Reports also cite global mining giant Rio Tinto as one of Pixxel’s clients, as part of “more than 50 commercial contracts” across government agencies, climate monitoring, oil and gas, and forestry—among target industries. Most of Pixxel’s clients are based outside of India, and the startup expects to start generating monthly recurring revenue after June this year.

Given the schematics so far, Pixxel could very well become the first commercially successful Satcom startup in India, in the months and years to come.

By Vernika Awal