Looks like startups are done with their planet and are now reaching for the moon in literal sense. A Bangalore-based startup Team Indus has won a $1Mn prize in the landing category of the Milestone Prizes and became one of the five teams which crossed a major milestone. Milestone Prizes honour hardware and software innovations needed to overcome technical risks. The startup competes directly against large private funded companies like the Moon Express and Israel’s Space-IL.
Vivek Wadhwa, technology entrepreneur and academic said, “This is good news for India for sure, but it is a better news for the mankind because it shows that governments no longer have a monopoly on space exploration,” If the startup succeeds it would be the first time India would be soft-landing a craft on the Moon.
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Last Month, the startup had raised $35 Mn from a clutch of investors including Subrata Mitra & Shekhar Kirani of Accel Partners, Sharad Sharma former Yahoo India R&D head, Vivek Raghavan, chief product manager of UIDAI, Pallaw Sharma director of analytics at Microsoft and serial entrepreneur Bala Parthasarthy among others.
Google Lunar Xprize was launched in India a month ago which saw many established and well-funded team from over the globe. The competition carries $40Mn in prize money and was brought to India by Ratan Tata, Naveen Jain and Paresh Ghelani. The teams compete to land a robotic spacecraft on Moon which requires a rover to dismount and travel 500 metres on the lunar surface.