A Look at India’s Defence Startups

A Look at India's Defence Startups

India is taking an aggressive strategy to achieve self reliance in the defence sector. India’s image as one of world’s leading nations of defence weapons importer, can take a significant shift after the government launching several programs to boost startups in the defence sector. Let’s get an overview of India’s defence market and have a look at some of these startups.

Crux of the Matter

Opportunities In The Defence Sector
The government announced that $130 bn will be allocated for the modernization of armed forces in the coming 5-7 years and $15.4 mn to set up the ‘Technology Development Fund’ to boost Research & Development in the sector. For defence infrastructure development, manufacturing cluster & park have been planned in Pune and Dholera. Moreover, the government launched ‘Indigenously Designed, Developed, and Manufactured’ (IDDM), a new category of capital procurement, to achieve self-reliance in the defence sector.

Boosting Startups
The Indian government also announced Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) under its Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) to boost innovation in the defence sector. The government is looking to fund 250 startups to achieve 50 tangible innovations in the next 5 years. Defence export strategy is introduced to help Defence Public Sector Enterprises (DPSUs) and private defence players to explore business opportunities abroad.

A Look At Some Of Them

Tonbo Imaging
It is a Bengaluru based startup founded by Arvind Lakshmikumar, Ankit Kumar, Sudeep George, and Cecilia D’Souza. So far it has received a total investment of $36.9 mn. In 2017 it raised $27 mn from Walden Riverwood Ventures. Tonbo Imaging offers advanced imaging and sensor systems for military reconnaissance and the security of critical industrial establishments.

It is a Mumbai-based startup founded in 2007 by Ankit Mehta, Rahul Singh, Ashish Bhat, Vipul Joshi. So far, it has raised total funding of $15.3 mn, and in 2016, Infosys invested $10 mn in it. It is a tech startup providing services to DRDO, security forces, and paramilitary. Currently, it also provides services to Delhi Police, National Disaster Response Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and National Security Guard. The startup’s core product is the NETRA defense system developed in collaboration with DRDO under the Ministry of Defense in India.

CRON Systems
It is a New Delhi-based startup founded in 2015 by Saurav Agarwala, Tommy Katzenellenbogen, and Tushar Chhabra. It provides services to solve complex security problems at Indian borders. Currently, it is developing IoT-based products to help the armed forces. Its flagship product is the Kavach security system equipped with multiple sensors such as flight cameras, mmWave radars, and LiDARs to help ‘detect, track and classify’ intrusion up to 150 m ahead of the perimeter.

Big Bang Boom Solutions
It is a Tamil Nadu-based startup founded by Praveen Dwarakanath and Shivaraman Ramaswamy in 2018. This startup has received a grant of ₹1.5 crores from the Defence Innovation Organisation. Mumbai Angels also invested $1 mn in it. It develops integrated intellectual properties for defence purposes. Other products of the startups include T-Series Unmanned Tank Development, BN (boron nitrate) based Hybrid Personal Combat Armour, 360 Advanced Battle Interface, Flying Warden-drones for riot control, and smart fencing system, among others.

  • Y Combinator is an American seed money startup accelerator, which has been used to launch over 2,000 companies including Stripe, Airbnb, Cruise Automation, DoorDash, Coinbase, Instacart, Dropbox, Twitch, and Reddit. The combined valuation of the top YC companies was over $155 billion as of October 2019.
  • Asteria Aerospace is a robotics and artificial intelligence company that develops drone-based solutions to provide actionable intelligence from aerial data. Reliance Industries in 2019, acquired over 51% in Asteria Aerospace for Rs 23.12 crore.
  • 3 new startups launch globally every second, making up for 11,000 per hour, or 259,200 per day! In the U.S. alone, that number is much lower and usually averages at 3 per minute