In an increasingly unforeseeable world, it is vital for a country to maintain national safety, strategic security, and tactical superiority in the face of any type of threat. Over the last few years, India has been encouraging innovators to focus on new-age technologies to empower the country’s defence sector.
Numerous startups have risen to the challenge to help the government maintain homeland security. One such defence tech startup making a mark is Ahmedabad-based Optimized Electrotech.
Pivot and Persist: this Delhi-based IoT startup is fighting COVID-19 with Made in India ‘Go Corona’ bags
Enhancing national security
As the focus of the company is enhancing national security, the first line of products has been deployed for border surveillance and defence purposes. The upcoming lineup of products will also be used for smart city surveillance, automotive, and other sectors.
Sandeep says the defence tech startup is currently working with the Indian Air Force to help build a long-vision system that will allow officers to locate missiles from a longer distance and help them aim more precisely.
“We work with Homeland Security (MHA) and Defence (MOD). Our products are useful for CISF to guard strategic assets; for BSF, ITBP, AR, and Coast Guard to keep a watchful eye on trespassing at borders; for CRPF and all Central and State Police forces for better law implementation within cities, and finally to Army, IAF and Navy for ISR,” he adds.
According to the MD, the startup has also received inquiries from some Indian and foreign OEMs apart from railways and ports.
Speaking about the use of technology for defence purposes, Sandeep says defence tech has actually been a “pivotal innovation engine” for consumer technology across the world.
“The internet, for example, was made for Defence. However, of late, consumer tech has surpassed the imagination of many defence scientists. Since the software is dominant in all new technology development, it allows for iterations and brings in agility to adapt to different adjacent technologies. This has brought faster innovations in consumer tech, which can be brought back to Defence. AI and ML advancements, low-cost high-yield sensors, and plastic materials that can withstand extreme environmental conditions are all revolutionising the way security is approached.”
Business and future plans
According to the co-founder, in the initial phase, the startup took support from Optimized Solutions, the first venture founded by Sandeep, and completed their journey till prototyping. Following this, the startup received its first VC investment from GVFL and a fund grant of Rs 1.5 crore from the Indian government as the winner of the iDEX challenge.
He adds that working in the defence sector requires patience and persistence, and thus not many VCs take an interest in the sector. “However, we’re seeing good interest from some VCs and family offices apart from a few foreign OEMs for investments,” Sandeep says.
Speaking about the business model, the co-founder says: “Our go-to-market is three-pronged. We serve Defence OEMs and system integrators with our products as raw material in their larger systems. We serve end users looking at only EO surveillance such as day or night imaging. We also build custom products for clients who are not in the defence sector. Our over-the-air upgrades available on some products enhance our customers’ ROI for our product by continuously adding more capabilities for a small annual subscription fee.”
The startup competes with other Indian players such as Bharat Electronics (BEL) and Tata Aerospace & Defense among others. On a global level, the startup also faces competition from Elbit (Israel), IAI (Israel), Thales (France), and Safran (France), and among others.
Optimized Electrotech is currently testing a few products aimed at the export sector and is now looking to get necessary certifications and create new products for non-defence sectors.
Talking about their long term goal, Sandeep says the startup aims to become “one of the top three surveillance companies in the next decade”.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.