How this make in India startup aims to streamline drone tech ecosystem

As India sees robust demand for drones in emergency use cases,Shantanu Bhede, Founder & CEO of DroneAdda, shares the journey of his startup in an exclusive interview. He highlights how “Drones as a Service” (DaaS) will be a game-changer in supporting the country in its disaster response and not limited to city planning, inspection and aerial intelligence. He also sheds light on the number of changes in the aviation sector and how drones have impacted consumer sentiments in hard-to-reach areas.


1- Can you explain in brief how you started DroneAdda and how has been the journey so far?

  • DroneAdda was my(Shantanu’s) brainchild. I started the robotics club in my college during my undergrad days, there I got introduced to Aeromodelling and Drones. It started off as a hobby for me. Eventually it landed me a job as an UAV engineer at my co-Founder’s(Amit Nimje’s) startup. But when covid hit we had to find a means of survival and we pivoted to providing IoT solutions to enterprise. But I was obsessed with drones and always wanted to make an impact in the drone ecosystem. I talked to the huge Indian drone community and identified a gap that I strongly believe we can fill. And thats how we started DroneAdda.


2- There are multiple players operating in the same domain. In this highly competitive market, how does DroneAdda stand apart?

  • DroneAdda does not manufacture/build/assemble/white-label drones
  • We are a components manufacture specialising in flight controllers, ESCs, Control links, Data links etc. and since we build the core technology on which the entire drone industry relies on, that makes all the drone businesses in India and around the world as our potential clients.
  • DroneAdda will never build drones, since the vision behind droneadda is to enable more drone businesses. Also we are aligned with the GoI’s vision of making India a global drone hub by 2030. And we believe that focusing on core technology is the way to go fot the same.We want to completely remove the import dependency on China .


3- The pandemic has introduced numerous changes in the aviation sector; how do you feel this has impacted the consumer sentiments in your domain? 

  • The impact was mostly positive, you might have seen a lot of news snippets where numerous use cases for drones were highlighted, like sanitisation, crowd control, monitoring and that pushed more people into the industry to take up the UAV domain as a business


4- How has the growth been for  you?

  • We are a pre-revenue company, in the prototype phase. But it was really nice to see such huge interest in the domain from investors and public alike. We even raised some pre-seed funds around 60k USD when droneAdda was right in its idea stage.
  • We plan on raising more in the pre-seed round mostly for team expansion and inventory building.
  • We have gotten in touch with a lot of our potential customers and they have shown immense interest in our customisation service as well, which we believe is going to disrupt how drone companies in India operate.


  1. Can you share plans regarding your expansion in the next 1 year?
  • We plan to expand as efficiently as possible. We aim to build a solid engineering team and expedite our R&D efforts.
  • Along with that we also aim to set up an assembly unit so as to lower down our overheads and better improve our unit economics.


6- Elaborate on the present market scenario. What kind of business opportunities do you see in this segment?

  • The GoI has been pushing really hard to make the Indian drone industry more Export oriented. With the drone policy liberalisation and schemes like PLI in place, we expect to see more investments and more established names in the scene.
  • Also the huge opportunity of mapping, surveying for govt via tenders is also creating a demand for service based drone companies.
  • We hope to see more investments into R&D and newer use cases and applications pop-up as well.


7- Any new trends you see in the Drone segment in coming years? How is it going to impact the audience?

  • I personally believe “Drones as a Service” (DaaS) is where the magic is going to happen, and with more mature guidelines for Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations into place. You could see drones dropping off your food and groceries right to your doorsteps pretty soon.
  • I also feel that drones could be a vital tool in city planning, inspection and aerial intelligence due to how agile they are.
  • The drone as a sport segment has also been growing a lot with events like Drone MultiGP and giants like GoPro manufacturing products specifically for the FPV drone segment shows that.


8- Any other relevant information you would like to add?

  • We recently shifted our base from Nagpur to Delhi , since we got Incubated at FITT IIT-Delhi. We were also pre-incubated at NSRCEL IIM-Banagalore’s pre-incubation program Launchpad’22


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