Drone Startups Get a Lift with IIT Kanpur’s UDAAN

The programme will provide drone startups in India with the resources and expertise needed to scale their businesses rapidly…reports Asian Lite News

The Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC) at Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Kanpur on Saturday launched the UAV/UAS/Drone Acceleration and Networking (UDAAN) programme to boost drone startups in India. 

The launch was part of a partnership between SIIC, the Centre of Excellence for Capacity Building, Training, and Design of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles at IIT Kanpur (Drone CoE Kanpur), an initiative by the Government of Uttar Pradesh, and the Drone Federation of India (DFI).

The programme will provide drone startups in India with the resources and expertise needed to scale their businesses rapidly.

The UDAAN programme will select 20 startups annually, divided into two cohorts, for an intensive acceleration journey. These startups will be incubated at SIIC, IIT Kanpur, gaining access to cutting-edge R&D facilities, technical mentorship, financing opportunities, and invaluable industry relationships.

Ankush Sharma, Professor in Charge at SIIC, IIT Kanpur said that the UDAAN programme will provide startups “with access to world-class resources and mentorship” and help boost “the growth of the UAV industry in India”.

It will also “contribute to technological advancements that have the potential to revolutionise various sectors”, he said.

The programme will offer the startups with strategic product and business development assistance, market analysis, customer targeting, alliance building, and growth plan development.

The startups will also have access to testing facilities at the Drone CoE, including the Helicopter and VTOL Laboratory, Flight Laboratory, and the National Wind Tunnel Facility.

In addition, the top six startups in each cohort will receive fellowship support of Rs 3 lakh per annum, providing crucial financial backing for their continued innovation and growth.

Startups interested in participating in the UDAAN programme must be registered as private limited companies with DPIIT, operate within the UAV/Drone sector, and focus on product development, testing, design verification, or technical consultancy. Additionally, their annual turnover should not exceed Rs 3 crore. Applications are open until June 20.

Election Week Surge

The Indian startup ecosystem, the world’s third largest, saw $97.3 million in funding across 10 deals this week as Lok Sabha election results were declared, paving the way for the BJP-led NDA to return to power.

The fintech sector led the overall startup funding. Digital lending platform Fibe secured $90 million ($65.5 million in primary capital and the rest via secondary transactions) led by TR Capital, Trifecta Capital and Amara Partners.

Akshay Mehrotra, Co-founder and CEO, Fibe, said with this capital injection, the startup is set to expand its reach, strengthen technological infrastructure and deepen its impact across the country.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven, low-code test automation platform Testsigma raised $8.2 million in funding led by MassMutual Ventures. It had earlier raised $4.6 million led by VC firm Accel.

Another AI-driven sales prospecting platform Clodura.AI raised $2 million led by the Bharat Innovation Fund with additional backing from Malpani Ventures.

The funding will help the startup further develop its AI capabilities and expand its user base.

Apart from primary startup funding, leading eyewear retailer Lenskart raised $200 million in secondary investment from global investment firms Temasek and Fidelity Management and Research Company (FMR).

With this funding, Lenskart’s market valuation has touched $5 billion.

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