Marque investors led by Shankar Sharma and others pick up a stake in pre-IPO funding
Pune-headquartered DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations (Droneacharya AI), the first drone startup company in the country, has announced its initial public offering will open on December 13, 2022, and close on December 15, 2022. It will offer 62.90 lakh shares (Rs 10/- paid up) through the book-building process in the price band of Rs 52-54 per share. Of the 62.90 shares offered. 8.98 lakh shares are reserved for HNI’s, 11.94 lakh shares are reserved for QIB’s and 20.92 lakh shares will be offered to retail investors.
The book-running lead manager to the issue is Corporate Capital Ventures. Bigshare Services is the registrar to the issue, and R K Stock Holding is the market maker to the issue. The shares of the company will be listed on BSE SME Exchange. The fresh funds raised will be utilised to purchase and manufacture drones, sensors and processing infrastructure. Further, the company plans to open 12 new training centres by March 2023. For Q1FY23, the company reported a total revenue of Rs 308.96 lakhs and a net profit of Rs 72.06 lakhs.
Given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to make India a global drone hub, we have invested in drone services and pilot training startup Droneacharya
In the pre-IPO funding, marque investors led by Shankar Sharma and other well-known market mavens and celebrities have picked a minority stake in the company. Shankar Sharma adds, “Given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to make India a global drone hub, we have invested in drone services and pilot training startup Droneacharya. Further, drones are being widely used in the country across industries for surveys, deliveries and surveillance, and this segment is expected to perform strongly in the coming years. We see a great value creation as the company has within a very short span been able to scale up its operations and has dynamic plans ahead.”
Besides, Shankar Sharma, Mangina Srinivas Rao (previously associated with ITC e-Chaupal and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, India) have also have picked up a stake in the company. In addition, a few angel investors, including Jay Vishwanathan, VC Kartik and Samit Bhartia, have also invested in the company. Jay Vishwanathan is amongst the early pioneers of private equity in India, while Samit Bhartia is the brother of Amit Bhartia, an ex-Partner at GMO.
Other key investors include Harshal Mode, an angel investor in media and entertainment-focused start-ups, and Ashish Nanda, Founder & Managing Director of Innovations Group, a UAE-based business conglomerate. Nikhil Chawla and Vivek Chandaria promoted Switzerland-based Wellstone Capital have also picked up a stake in the company in the Pre-IPO round of funding.
DroneAcharya AI is one of the first private players to receive a DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) certified RPTO (Remote Pilot Training Organization) license in 2022. Since March 2022, the company has trained more than 180 drone pilots. It has rolled out several concise and industry- relevant Drone and GIS courses designed to upskill and empower young Indians to build a new-age
career within the drone ecosystem. The company plans to enter manufacture of customised 100% indigenous drones and offers land and underwater surveying services, which include powerlines & utilities, oil & gas infrastructure, mines and quarries, energy & renewables, roads & highways, urban & rural planning, Agriculture & Irrigation, Underwater Inspection, and Underwater Bathymetry.