Society

Elon Musk sends Chennai entrepreneur over the moon

A tweet by Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder of Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace, that caught SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s attention. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Elon Musk may be planning his way to space and also creating an elaborate course for others to get there, and expending huge resources in the process.

While these out-of-world efforts are in the works and being watched with immense interest, the SpaceX CEO has quietly “rocketed” a Chennai-based entrepreneur over the moon, with the minimum of fuss — with just a tap of his finger.

Before the incredible fact that Elon Musk had liked his tweet (dated 20 July 2021) could sink in, Agnishwar Jayaprakash, founder of Garuda Aerospace, was discovering how far that simple act on Twitter could go.

Chennai-based Garuda Aerospace is in the business of designing and building drones for applications that range from sanitising crannies in tall buildings to reaching medicines to terrains that are off the map.

Its latest effort that caught Musk’s eye and his fortune-altering finger, is Surya drone, one that skimps on water as it goes about cleaning solar panels installed in hard-to-reach spaces.

Agnishwar Jayaprakash

Agnishwar Jayaprakash  

“Basically, it was a tweet about Surya drone, a solar-powered drone we have designed, one that reduces the amount of water used in solar panel cleaning from the regular usage level of four litres to just 100 ml or under,” Agnishwar explains. “The drone can be particularly beneficial in areas marked by water scarcity. Solar farms find it difficult to clean the panels and leaving them uncleaned can result in the panels becoming under-productive.”

Agnishwar adds that by utilising these drones, manpower is reduced and also quick and efficient way of cleaning solar panels that increases its productivity is introduced.

It was Agnishwar’s gain that Musk was also on the same page and made that known to the tweet-consuming world.

“Because that tweet had caught Elon’s attention, immediately, a global fund was rushed to us, as within 16 hours of discussion, they had signed a term sheet for one million dollars of funding,” reveals Agnishwar. The news was promptly picked up and reported by business publications, including The Hindu Businessline.

The 30-year-old entrepreneur adds that following these developments, the National Thermal Power Corporation had approached Garuda Aerospace in connection with Surya drone.

Swimming days

It may be noted that Agnishwar used to be in the news for his exploits in the waters.

An accomplished swimmer, his calling card during his swimming days was that he bested the competition in six categories at the World Short Course Swimming Championships, held in Istanbul in 2012, in the process creating six national records; and that eight years earlier, in 2004, when he was aged 14, he became the youngest to represent the country, when he did so at the World Championships in Indianapolis, United States.


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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 12:32:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/elon-musk-sends-chennai-entrepreneur-over-the-moon/article35661731.ece

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