Mahendra Singh Dhoni, veteran cricketer, has invested an undisclosed amount in Chennai-headquartered drone start-up Garuda Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. The former India captain and captain of the Chennai Super Kings team in the IPL has been roped in as the brand ambassador of the start-up.
About his association with Garuda, Dhoni said: “I am happy to be a part of Garuda Aerospace and look forward to witness their growth story with the unique drone solutions they have to offer.”
This particular investment is part of the bridge round ahead of its series A round which the firm intends to close by end of July at a valuation of $250 million. “Garuda Aerospace is valued at $250 million and we are raising $30 million to fuel our global expansion plans,” Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace Pvt. Ltd., told The Hindu.
He said: “We will use the funds to strengthen our technology capabilities in terms of design, hardware, software and firmware. We are focused on building AI, ML modules on to our drones to make them more intelligent and 100% autonomous.” Significant funds would be allocated to integrate the mountains of data captured along with a deep tech analysis platform on cloud for seamless project monitoring even without internet for real time informed decision making, Mr. Jayaprakash said.
To a query on why Dhoni was roped in as ambassador of the start-up, he said: “Apart from being my idol and role model, he is a youth icon and a perfect example of a rural youth success story.”
Garuda Aerospace intends to scale up its business to 700 districts across India and to 50 countries across the world.