"EDITION 139"

Published: 8/20/2020

Good morning, it's Thursday and there's been way too much fundraising news this week. There seems to be a very real disconnect between what's happening in country and in the startup ecosystem (I've noticed this in the US as well where the unemployment rate is still north of 10%). But coming to the days' news, we have a satellite imagery startup that just raised their seed round & a company building an easy-to-integrate chat + audio/video messaging platform.

  • https://tcrn.ch/3kV73c5: Pixxel raises $5M in a seed round
  • ➡️ Bangalore-based satellite imagery company Pixxel just raised $5M in a seed (yes seed!) round led by Blume Ventures, Lightspeed India Partners & growX ventures with participation from several angel investors. The company had also previously raised $700k from Techstars and took part in their Starburst Space Accelerator as well.

    ➡️ The company will be launching its first Earth imaging satellite later this year which will be aboard a Soyuz rocket. First up, I think its super impressive that the company's founders are only 22 years old, given that the company is in frontier territory.

    ➡️ I also assume this was a highly competitive round (don't think I've previously come across a $5M seed round by a first-time founder in India yet) and might point towards seed rounds becoming frothy in India (following the trend in the US).

    ➡️ The company plans to launch up to 30 satellites by 2022 and claims it will be able to provide data that's much higher quality compared to today's Earth-imaging satellites. There seems to be a couple companies in India that are also doing satellite imagery as a service (Kawa Space & Astrome).

    ➡️ While delivering high quality imagery on a regular cadence is a core part of the company, the sales org will be a very important part of the business as a majority of the revenue would come from large enterprises & governments.

    ➡️ And on that part I don't know how someone like Pixxel would compete with someone like Planet Labs, who've raised hundred of millions of dollars with a large sales org. The other question is if a satellite imagery company from India can successfully sell to customers in North America & the EU. We've seen SaaS companies do it, but this seems different.

    2. https://bit.ly/3aEItYd: CometChat raises $1.6M in a seed round

    ➡️ Communications-as-a service company CometChat has announced a $1.6M in a seed round from US-based firms Range Ventures & Silicon Badia and Indian micro-fund iSeed. The company was previously part of Techstar's Accelerator in Boulder, CO as well.

    ➡️ The company is planning to use the capital raised to scale up sales & marketing efforts in India & the US. The company already has customers in both countries and some of its customers include Rackspace, HDFC & JP Morgan Chase.

    ➡️ The company lets any product embed text, audio or video messaging in their apps (web or mobile) through their SDK (I checked out the docs and it seems like integrating their chat SDK would only take a couple hours vs architecting from scratch which would take weeks).

    ➡️ Over the years, we've seen companies abstract away certain core functionality in products in a way that's easy to integrate (Twilio for SMS notifications, Stripe for payments) and to me it seems like Comet would be a no-brainer for engineers to build out chat in their existing applications.

    Feedback & ❤️ always appreciated BONUS (Tweet of the day): https://twitter.com/miten/status/1295716666660225033

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