Elon Musk’s ‘like’, a $1-m boon for Garuda Aerospace

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on July 22, 2021

Helps the aerospace company raise $1m in Series A funding

Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder and CEO of Garuda Aerospace, was in for a very pleasant surprise on Tuesday morning when he realised that Elon Musk had liked his tweet on Garuda’s new Surya drone that could potentially clean solar panels at Singapore’s new floating solar farms. Needless to say, the tweet has since gone viral with over 1 million impressions.

In an interesting turn of events, within 16 hours of Musk liking the tweet, a Global Fund based in the UK, which had initiated preliminary discussions with Garuda Aerospace to raise pre-Series A funds, signed the term sheet for $1 million.

Jayaprakash followed it up with another tweet, showcasing a video of the advanced automated Surya Drone in action using only 100 ml of water to clean solar panels, when conventional manual methods use 4 litres and more for the same.

Boon to start-ups

The world’s third richest man, Elon Musk’s social-media activity in the past couple of months has resulted in several upcoming start-ups seeing their value rise multi-fold.

Most recently, Bitcoin and Dogecoin prices rose after Elon Musk’s tweets, where he explained that his car company Tesla would resume allowing Bitcoin transactions.

“All because Elon Musk liked my tweet, which I saw upon waking up at 8:24 am on Tuesday, I had a signed term sheet for $1 million from a Global Fund within 16 hours. I’ve been part of so many fund-raising rounds with investors, but this kind of speed is unprecedented,” a palpably excited Jayaprakash told BusinessLine.

Garuda has raised a total of $5 million in seed funding so far, including this latest pre-Series A round.

He said the Surya drone has been recently deployed in Virescent Solar plant in Rajapalayam, Tamil Nadu. BHEL, NTPC, Adani, Avaada and several other giants in the solar industry, have also expressed interested in the advanced Surya drone.

Global expansion

Founded in 2015, Garuda Aerospace designs, builds and customises unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for multiple applications, including spraying pesticides, fertilisers, sanitisation of public spaces, delivery of medicines, and vaccinations, among others. The start-up has clinched over 400 government orders and $2 million in revenue this past year despite the pandemic. Having secured over 100 contracts from clients that include Godrej, TATA, Reliance, ITC, Vedanta and JWIL, Garuda Aerospace has plans to expand globally.

Published on July 22, 2021

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