IN-SPACe Seed Fund Scheme Of Up To Rs 1 Crore To Support Indian Space Startups In Early Stages

IN-SPACe Seed Fund Scheme Of Up To Rs 1 Crore To Support Indian Space Startups In Early Stages

by Karan Kamble - Thursday, March 16, 2023 05:28 PM IST
IN-SPACe Seed Fund Scheme Of Up To Rs 1 Crore To Support Indian Space Startups In Early StagesThe IN-SPACe pavilion at the Bengaluru Space Expo, 2022 (Photo: IN-SPACe/Twitter)
  • The new seed fund scheme for Indian space startups is expected to foster innovation and technology development in the Indian space sector.

The Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) announced on 14 March a seed fund scheme towards its goal of developing and promoting the private space sector in India.

The scheme involves a grant of up to Rs 1 crore. It will support startups that are in the process of developing “innovative space products and services that can improve the quality of life of people and communities in India and around the world,” IN-SPACe has said.

Set up in October 2021, IN-SPACe is a single-window, independent, nodal agency under the Department of Space that facilitates private sector participation in Indian space activities.

It came as the next logical step after the Union Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opened up the space sector — the entire gamut of space activities — to private players in June 2020.

The new seed fund scheme is part of IN-SPACe continuing endeavour to develop the private space ecosystem in the country.

Early-stage startups that have innovative business ideas and projects for the use of space technology to address “up-stream/ mid-stream and down-stream challenges” in the space sector are eligible for the scheme. 

The “up-stream” part of space work typically revolves around space research, technology development, launch, and exploration, while the “down-stream” segment is more concerned with the use of the research and technology from up the stream.

Further, the startups need to be registered with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) to be eligible to apply. (The detailed eligibility criteria for startups are given here).

The overall support, which will include access to funding, mentorship, training, and networking opportunities, will enable the selected startups to turn their ideas into reality and, thus, “get their projects off the ground.”

In its early days, a startup may have the right ideas but not necessarily the financial resources to give their ideas flight. This might especially be the case when financial institutions hesitate to support because of unclear prospects. Here is where IN-SPACe’s seed funding aims to help out.

The grant of up to Rs 1 crore will be paid in three or more instalments.

The exact quantum of funding and number of instalments will be determined by an expert committee on the basis of the progress made on the project. The startups will have to cross predetermined milestones to show proof of progress and use up their grant within three years of receiving the first instalment.

The expert committee implementing the scheme will comprise members of IN-SPACe, including its chairman, senior government officials, industry experts, and venture capitalists.

A Project Facilitating and Monitoring Committee, made up of IN-SPACe directors, deputy directors, a joint secretary, and senior scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will review and monitor the progress of proposed projects picked under the scheme by the expert committee.

Through this process, IN-SPACe aims to help level up these startups. “This scheme will enable space start-ups to demonstrate their novel idea and move to next level, where they can seek loans from commercial banks or financial institutions or funding from investors,” the agency has said.

IN-SPACe will announce opportunities under this seed fund scheme on its website from time to time. The first announcement of opportunities is expected to come in towards the end of this month.

Karan Kamble writes on science and technology. He occasionally wears the hat of a video anchor for Swarajya's online video programmes.

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