NewSpace Research & Technologies (NTR), based in Bengaluru that designs and develops Persistent Drones for Earth Observation and Communications, has reportedly raised $21 million in a funding round headed by Pavestone Technology Fund.
The valuation of the funding was undisclosed. However, the startup plans to achieve unicorn status in the next five years.
The firm, specializing in swarm drone systems, has won around 2 contracts from the defense ministry last year. In addition, it is working on an ambitious project with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) to develop a pioneering pseudo satellite for communications and surveillance.
In the last few years, while big industry houses have expanded into the defense manufacturing business and several startups have begun processes, VC funds have not found their way into the sector in large numbers till now. This is due to investors performing thoughtfully, on account of the long maturation period the sector has.
Sridhar Rampalli, the Managing Partner of Pavestone Technology Fund, has expressed his belief that there are huge prospects and mentioned that the firm is working on two-three products for the future. If performed properly, it could become a unicorn in the coming five or six years.
Furthermore, the raised funding is supposed to be sufficient for the next 18 months as the firm starts delivering its products to the armed forces, and some rounds in the future are also planned after that. Besides the defense market, the firm will also be focusing on the civil logistics operations for drones and is planning to deliver products as the market has just opened up.
Recently, the firm has also signed a development and design contract with the defense ministry to build a HAPS (High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite), which will be capable of supporting communications and performing surveillance operations by continuing to be airborne for months at a stretch. The program will have Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the chief prototype development partner, mentored under the iDEX (Innovations for Defense Excellence) initiative of the ministry.