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Shantanu Bhede

Founder & CEO


DRONE AS A SERVICE Disrupting drone operations in India

Dec 27, 2022

…says Shantanu Bhede, Founder & CEO, DroneAdda. In an interview with Neha Basudkar Ghate, he highlights how Drones as a Service (DaaS) will be a game-changer in supporting the country. Excerpts…

Can you brief us on how you started DroneAdda and how the journey has been so far?

During my bachelor’s, I got introduced to aeromodelling and drones which eventually landed me a job as a UAV engineer at my co-founder’s (Amit Nimje’s) startup.

But when the pandemic hit, we had to find means of survival, so we pivoted to provide IoT solutions to the enterprise. But I was obsessed with drones and always wanted to make an impact on the drone ecosystem. I spoke to the huge Indian drone community and identified a gap that I strongly believe we can fill. That is how DroneAdda was born.

Can you elaborate on the present market scenario? What kind of business opportunities do you see in this segment?

The GoI has been pushing hard to make the Indian drone industry more export-oriented. With drone policy liberalisation and schemes like PLI in place, we anticipate more investments and established names in the scene.

In addition, the massive opportunity for mapping and surveying for the government through tenders is creating a demand for service-based drone companies. We hope to see more investments in R&D and newer use cases and applications.

There are multiple players operating in the same domain. Is this a highly competitive market?

DroneAdda does not manufacture/build/assemble/white-label drones. We are a component manufacturer specialising in flight controllers, ESCs, control links, data links, etc. We are not into building drones since the vision behind the company is to enable more drone businesses. We are aligned with the GoI’s vision of making India a global drone hub by 2030.

Can you share your growth story so far?

We are a pre-revenue company, still in the prototype phase. But it was nice to see such a huge interest in the domain from investors and the public alike. We even raised some pre-seed funds of around $60,000 when the company was still in its ideation stage. We plan on raising more in the pre-seed round, mostly for team expansion and inventory building. We are also in touch with many of our potential customers, and they have shown immense interest in our customisation service as well, which we believe is going to disrupt how drone companies in India operate.

What are your plans regarding expanding the company in 2023?

We plan to expand as efficiently as possible. We aim to build a good engineering team and expedite our R&D efforts. Along with that, we aim to set-up an assembly unit to lower our overheads and improve our unit economics.

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