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The Duke of Drones: Agnishwar Jayaprakash How did an Olympic prospect go on to establish one of the leading drone startups in India? Since a young age, Agnishwar Jayaprakash has been a man of many talents, but a man of one goal: to serve the youth of India

By Paromita Gupta

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Agnishwar Jayaprakash 32 Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace

How did an Olympic prospect go on to establish one of the leading drone startups in India? Since a young age, Agnishwar Jayaprakash has been a man of many talents, but a man of one goal: to serve the youth of India. Many may not know but his tryst with swimming was a result of a lung ailment and his father felt that the sport will help in improving his breathing ability. And it did. In fact, in 2012, he won six categories at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Istanbul. Jayaprakash was all set to win an Olympic medal. But he knew his life had a bigger purpose to serve. Being active in the social development front, he has been invested in technologies and concepts which can help countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 from a young age. During his stint under the UN Assistant Secretary General-Madam Lakshmi Puri, where he got colossal exposure while contributing to impact reports focused on youth power and emerging technologies such as drones, he realized that latter had the potential to disrupt multiple billion dollar sectors and impact over 1 billion people. "This powerful combination could be used to disrupt multibillion-dollar sectors at once and that moment led to the building of Garuda Aerospace," says this Harvard Business School alumni.

Precision agri-tech and Industry 4.0 upgradation are what sets the startup apart. Additionally, it is focusing on building advanced drones for armed forces and defense requirements, diversifying its sectors such as agriculture, surveillance, and mapping. "Garuda Aerospace is asset-light, recession-proof, and agnostic and focuses on eliminating labours in the agricultural field with drones," shared the founder. It caters to 30 different types of drones and offers over 50 types of services, including warehouse management for Flipkart and Delhivery, along with food drone delivery for Swiggy. So how has 2022 been for the company? Jayaprakash recalls it to be a great one as the startup progressed and partnered extensively across various segments. It also received a green flag from DGCA for type certification and RPTO certification, making it the 1st Indian drone startup to do so.

It also partnered with global giants such as Lockheed Martin, Elbit Systems, and Cognizant to expand in countries like Malaysia, Africa, South America, Panama, UAE, and France. The startup got further boost when former Indian skipper MS Dhoni joined as an investor and brand ambassador. Presently, the startup has a fleet of 400 drones, a well-trained team of 500+ pilots, residence in 84 cities, and a client base of over 750 "Garuda Aerospace is firmly on the path towards the 1st ever Drone Unicorn Startup in India and Garuda- the Dronicorn is a Mission statement that will become a reality in the next 12 months," shares Jayaprakash. The venture is eyeing a Series A round with $15-20 million in equity. It is currently valued at $250 Million and is cash positive with a 24% net profit margin.

Factsheet:

No. Of Employees: 200+

Year Of Inception: 2015

Investors: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ocgrow Ventures

Paromita Gupta

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer with Entrepreneur India

Covering news and trends in AI and Metaverse segments. An avid book reader running her personal blog on the side. You may reach me at paromita@entrepreneurindia.com. 
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