NewSpace Nets $52 Mn Funding For Defence Innovation

In a bridge round, NewSpace Research & Technologies (NRT), a drone company in India’s defense industry, raised $52 million (INR 430.9 Cr).

People with knowledge of the situation informed ET that the financing consists of $19 million in debt from SBI’s startup hub and SIDBI and $33 million in equity from well-known investors.

Three new venture investors, Volrado Venture Partners, 360 ONE Asset, and Cornerstone Venture Partners, have joined NRT. Present investors account for more than 40% of the investment.

The firm, which hopes to become a unicorn in five years, raised $21 million in its first round of funding in February 2022.

Over the past two years, NRT has supplied the Defense Ministry with a swarming system and broken the world record for the greatest altitude flight achieved by a multirotor system. It recently showcased a solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could fly continuously for 21 hours—a first for India. The Indian Army is presently receiving a tethered system from NRT.

“I was impressed with the speed at which the leadership has built capabilities and the potential of some of the dual-use technologies being built, especially in communication and logistics,” stated Manipal Group Chairman Ranjan Pai, who also invested in the latest round.

Beyond the Indian market, NRT aspires to be a global player. It has already shown that it can operate swarm drones in Japan as a first reaction capacity for disaster management, and it plans to grow its clientele in the US, the Middle East, and Japan.

The 46-person team at NewSpace, based in Bengaluru, is developing smart technology for the upcoming generation. The startup’s website lists augmented reality, virtual reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, GPS denied operations, collaborative robotics, unmanned air systems, and more as examples of its next-generation aerospace technology.

Over the past ten or so years, a number of Indian entrepreneurs have entered the drone industry as a result of the growing demand and use of drones. Based on Inc42’s Indian Drone Tech Startup Landscape & Market Opportunity Report 2023, it is anticipated that the drone market in India will grow from $2.71 billion in 2022 to $13 billion by 2030.

Among the drone tech startups in the nation are Garuda Aerospace, Marut Drones, BonV Aero, Skylark Drones, Skye Air Mobility, and Preimage.

In addition, the government has taken a number of actions to support the drone sector and position India as a drone hub by 2030 in recognition of the growing significance of drones.

The defense and aerospace industry has seen growth due to the government’s Make in India initiative, modifications to the Defense Acquisition Procedure (DAP), and programs such as the Innovation for Defence Excellence (iDEX). These initiatives have attracted numerous startups and established companies eager to participate in the long-term market.

“We are confident that deep technologies emerging from defense startups will have a significant impact on businesses globally in the next four to five years,” lead investor in the previous round Sridhar Rampalli of Pavestone Technology Fund told ET.

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