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Agnishwar Jayaprakash, 

Founder and CEO, Garuda Aerospace
age: 32
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AGNISHWAR JAYAPRAKASH, founder and CEO of Garuda Aerospace, was surprised when one of his tweets went viral in July 2021. It was about one of Garuda’s innovations—a ‘Surya’ drone for cleaning panels at Singapore’s floating solar farms. One of the ‘likes’ was from Tesla founder Elon Musk. Within 16 hours, Garuda signed a term sheet for $1 million pre-Series A funding from a U.K.-based fund.
Garuda makes customised unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) for multiple uses such as spraying pesticides and fertilisers, sanitising public spaces and delivering medicines, food and vaccines. “We have identified over 50 areas for our applications,” says Agnishwar Jayaprakash. Revenues grew from ₹3 crore in FY20 to ₹15 crore next year and ₹40 crore in FY22. In FY23, they are likely to be ₹450-500 crore.
For those who know Jayaprakash’s background, these achievements may not come as a surprise. At 14, the second generation entrepreneur from real estate and education focussed Chennai-based Agni Group was the youngest Indian to represent India at World Swimming Championships at Indianapolis, U.S., in 2004. Interestingly, his lungs were only 20% functional when he was born.
Garuda is working with over 750 companies, including farm equipment makers and dealers, to offer at least a drone (worth ₹4-4.5 lakh) for each of the five lakh villages. India’s $4 billion drone market has been growing at 12% CAGR over last couple of years. Still, Indian companies are 70-80% dependent on China for parts, which is why Garuda is setting up a global drone hub in Chennai.