Infosys, India’s second-largest software exporter, is participating in a funding round in a startup that makes drones or unmanned aerial vehicles. The company ideaForge Technology said that it would be raising Series A funding of Rs. 70 crore. The round would be led by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms WRV Capital and IndusAge Partners. The Navi Mumbai-based company said that among other investors, Infosys would participate in this round of funding. The firm expects to use this capital for further product development and global market expansion.
“With this investment, we expect to expand from our leadership position in the Indian defence sector to other growing market segments such as mining, agriculture, oil and gas and other enterprise applications,” said Ankit Mehta, chief executive and co-founder of ideaForge in a statement.
Founded by IIT-Bombay graduates ideaForge has developed Netra, an unmanned aerial vehicle in collaboration with Defence Research and Development Organisation. It can be deployed for counter- insurgency, border management, hostage situations and disaster management. It flies autonomously and returns on its own to the home base after completion of the mission.
“This is a great example of an Indian company with a fundamental intellectual property, that has the potential to exploit the global market opportunity,” said Sudhir Rao, managing partner of IndusAge Partners, in a statement.
The firm supplies its drones to customers like Central Reserve Police Force, The Border Security Force and various State police forces. They were also used in the Nepal earthquake and the Uttarakhand flood relief and rescue operations.
The company said that it has deployed over 350 systems with the Indian Armed Forces. It said that over 700 trained armed personnel are operating these systems in key sensitive areas in Indian defense locations.
“With this investment, we hope to be able to assist the company’s ambition to become a global leader,” said Nicholas Brathwaite, General Partner of WRV Capital, in a statement.
With 22.5 per cent of the world’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imports, between 1985 and 2014, India ranked first among drone-importing nations, followed by the United Kingdom and France, according to data provided Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.