Drone manufacturer Garuda Aerospace has raised funding of $17 million. This was led by Venture Capital firm SphitiCap, which invested $12 million, along with participation from other global investors, angel investors and HNIs at $5 million, says a release.

In November, the Chennai-based company received $5 million in funding from an infra-development company, a group of HNI and angel investors from India, UAE and Singapore. Another $8 million is to be raised soon to close the Series A round of $30 million, as announced earlier by the company.

The acquired funds will be utilised to scale up and expand the company’s operation. A part of the funds will be used for R&D to accelerate the development of building advanced drone solutions for the armed forces in collaboration with global companies for the defence and aerospace sectors. Garuda drones will be enhanced with payload capacities, endurance, quality of sensors and data embedding with more technology solutions. Currently operating in PAN India, Garuda Aerospace aims to have a presence in rural areas, says a release.

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Agnishwar Jayaprakash, Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace, said that the company is on the path to becoming the first drone Unicorn startup in India. He did not give a time frame nor the company’s valuation after the latest round of funding.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off our Drone Yatra by launching 100 Garuda Kisan Drones in 100 villages last year and Mahendra Singh Dhoni joined as a brand ambassador and shareholder, the company has been focussing on unit economics, profitability and sustainability. The company’s model is asset-light, tech-driven, market-agnostic and recession- proof. The company aims to sell 25,000 drones in the next 18 months and is looking forward to exporting 10,000 drones to about 100 countries in the next 15 months, he said.

Garuda Aerospace has a fleet of 400 drones and a team of over 500 pilots across 26 cities in India. Dhoni has invested and Garuda Aerospace is a DGCA-approved (Type certification and RPTO) Made in India Drones, the release said.