The under-grads who built a business of plug-and-fly drones
- insideFPV manufactures India’s first to Plug and Fly FPV
drones, where customers just have to plug the battery in the drone and fly it.
- The founders started insideFPV in 2020, when all three of them were still in college.
- The founders walked away with an investment of ₹75 lakhs by four of the five sharks.
insideFPV claims to be India’s first company to provide Plug-and-Fly FPV drones, where customers just have to plug the battery in the drone and fly it. FPV stands for First Person View.
The Tamil Nadu-based startup was founded by three engineers — Arth Chowdhary, Oshi Kumari, and Devyant Bhardwaj in 2020.
insideFPV sells drones starting at ₹2,800 on its website. The founders claimed that no other company in India sells drones at this price point. The startup’s most expensive drone, priced at ₹25,000, comes with goggles that allow you to remotely view footage captured by the drone at a distance of 4-5 kms.
The startup also offers customers services like a one-drone crash warranty, and free consultation by experienced pilots. It clocked in revenues to the tune of ₹85 lakh in FY22. And walked away with an investment of ₹75 lakhs from four sharks.
Graduates of the Vellore Institute of Technology, the three founders were still studying in college when they started insideFPV during the pandemic. Chowdhary and Kumari are both mechanical engineers, while Bhardwaj studied electrical engineering.
The trio launched a profitable business, even as they were pursuing their education. While Chowdhary and Bhardwaj graduated just two days before the episode was shot, Kumari was still in the fourth year of engineering when she appeared on the show.
“Fantastic to see a woman in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). There are very few in our country,” commented
The company made year-to-date sales worth ₹44 lakh in FY23. However, they projected that they will close the year with sales worth ₹4 crore, because of upcoming orders from VIT Chennai and VIT Vellore.
Advertisement“VIT Chennai is setting up a drone lab for students. So we’re giving them all our drones and equipment. Secondly, VIT Vellore is buying two agricultural drones from us, costing ₹8 lakh each,” shared Chowdhary on the show.
As much as 40% of the company’s sales come from drones, while spare parts drive the remaining 60%. The B2C startup drives all its sales with zero marketing spend.
The company received a grant of ₹10 lakh from the Government of India under the Nidhi-Prayas programme. The programme caters to idea-stage entrepreneurs with a physical product offering, who require support for prototyping. VIT Technology Business Incubator is a centre under this programme.
The startup raised ₹25 lakh at a valuation of ₹12.5 crore from angel investors in March 2022.
Bringing together the sharks
AdvertisementThough Anupam Mittal, founder of Shaadi.com, backed out citing the category is ripe for intense competition, sharks Peyush Bansal (co-founder, Lenskart) and Aman Gupta (co-founder, boAt) made an offer of ₹50 lakh for 20% equity and ₹25 lakh debt (at no interest). This valued the company at ₹2.5 crore
“This is a very early stage. But you (founders) are superb. This is completely a bet on you. No interest on the loan, I don’t want any interest on ₹25 lakh. You need the money,” said Bansal.
Thapar and Amit Jain (co-founder, CarDekho.com) responded with a joint offer of ₹75 lakh for 15% equity, doubling the company’s valuation. Jain told the founders that they were students and repaying the debt would be difficult for them.
Consequently, the founders requested all four sharks to come on board with a collective investment of ₹75 lakh for 5% equity. Bansal initially backed out of this deal, stating that while he and Gupta could match Thapar and Jain’s offer, he wouldn’t come on board for 5%.
Thapar and Jain revised their offer, further raising the company’s valuation to ₹6.25 crore. However, the founders’ continuous appeal to have Bansal on board, swayed him. Ultimately, the four sharks, Bansal, Gupta, Thapar and Jain, came together and made a final offer — ₹75 lakh for 15% equity, which valued the company at ₹5 crore. The founders agreed to this offer.
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