These Four Indian Startups Are Adding Thrust To Country's Aviation Sector
India has become the third largest domestic aviation market in the world and is expected to overtake the UK to become the third largest air passenger market by 2024
From the time aeroplanes were invented in 1905 by Wright Brothers to 1932 when India's first airline, Tata Air Services, was established, the country's aviation industry has come a long way. In a country of 1.3 billion people, still a majority of the population travels by trains and buses as they are cheaper. The aviation industry—which was considered for the elite till the end of the 20th century—started witnessing more footfalls as private players such as Air Deccan, Indigo and Spicejet, among others, started low-cost operations towards the start of 2000s.
India's civil aviation has emerged as one of the fastest-growing industries in the country during the last three years. India has become the third largest domestic aviation market in the world and is expected to overtake the UK to become the thrid largest air passenger market by 2024, as per International Air Transport Association. India's total air passenger traffic stood at 341.05 million in FY20.
All these numbers have only attracted Indian startups to enter the space and assuage the existing pain points and bring innovations. Here's a look at four Indian startups which are making flying smoother for the aviation industry.
ZestIoT, a T-Hub incubated startup, is using the Internet-of-things along with artificial intelligence (AI) to provide solutions that can be used for asset tracking and passenger management applications. Founded in 2016 by Amit Sukhija in Hyderabad, the startup currently boasts four products: AviLeap, which promises to improve OTPs thus improving real-time visibility and discovering blind spots; AviTag which enhances asset/baggage tracking and inventory management; AviQ which improves passenger movement and reduces wait time; and AviX which enables contactless boarding.
The startup till date has raised $1 million in funding and is backed by BEENEXT, 3One4 Capital, Cisco Launchpad and Kiran Gadela.
This Bengaluru-based startup has addressed a prominent pain point in the business aviation sector by providing a private plane flight planning platform. Before the startup was founded, international companies such as Honeywell, Rocket Routes, Skyplan and Nav Blue used to charge Indian entrepreneurs a global corporate plan, as they did not have Indian-only plans. Prem Kumar, chief operating officer and founder of Eflight, was an air traffic controller at HAL airport in Bangalore. He observed pilots of private jets have a different set of roles such as managing agents, getting military clearance, permission to land and fly and plan routes among others were tedious. This is when he came up with the idea of Eflight, a platform which can take care of all these. Today, the startup serves more than 40 business aviation clients in India and handles on an average of 150 flights a day. The startup has also caught the attention of global aerospace and defence company Airbus which has selected the startup for its accelerator programme and even struck a deal with its flight planning company NavBlue.
The ePlane Company
Talking about aviation and not mentioning a startup which is building electric planes to improve commute in busy cities, sounds incongruous. The ePlane Company, which was founded in 2015 and established office in 2019, is enabling aerial mobility. The startup is building electric planes which it claims can offer 10 times faster commute within cities at a similar price to road taxi and can also be used for moving cargo in remote and rural areas. The startup, founded by professor Satya Chakravarthy and Pranjal Mehta, has built a small-scale prototype by bootstrapping. However, the startup in December last year raised an undisclosed seed fund led by VC Speciale Invest and has participation from IIM Ahmedabad's CIIE.CO, FirstCheque, JavaCapital, and Sharechat co-founder Farid Ahsan.
Intech Additive Solutions
Bengaluru-based Intech Additive Solutions, earlier called Intech DMLS Limited, was the first Indian company to have indigenously developed jet engine series. A metal 3D printing provider and metal additive manufacturing establishment in 2018 helped India to become the first country in Asia and only the fourth country after the US, Europe and Israel to indigenously develop such an engine in the private space.
Poeir Jets, an R&D subsidiary of Intech Additive, showcased its series of jet engines to be used in unmanned aerial vehicles and remote-controlled aircraft. The engine MJE 20 is indigenously designed and manufactured with a thrust of 20 Kgf. It is currently undergoing testing at their Bengaluru facility.