Saturday, June 3, 2023

Indian drone startup nets $22m to disrupt billion-dollar sectors

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In July 2021, Garuda Aerospace caught the attention of Elon Musk, who liked the company’s tweet on its solar panel-cleaning drone. This led to the Indian drone startup inking a US$1 million investment deal with a global fund. Now, the Indian company has raised US$22 million to further fuel its growth.

The latest raise marks the largest ever series A funding in the drone sector in India, according to the company. The round was led by local early-stage VC firm SphitiCap, which injected US$12 million, alongside other global investors, angel investors, and high-net-worth individuals.

Founded in 2015, Garuda Aerospace is valued at US$250 million and says it is the most valuable drone startup in India. Founder and CEO Agnishwar Jayaprakash says the firm could potentially scale globally and help India become the world’s drone hub by 2030.

The startup manufactures 30 types of drones, primarily used in precision agriculture, 4.0 infrastructure development, and mapping, among others. It hopes to sell 25,000 drones in the next 18 months and export 10,000 drones to around 100 countries in the next 15 months.

Garuda Aerospace will use some of the fresh funds to build advanced drone solutions for armed forces, support the training of drone pilots, and deepen its footprints in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. It currently has a fleet of 400 drones and over 500 pilots operating across the country.

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