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One of the early defence Startups which had embarked upon the opportunity early on, has secured $17 Mn in Series B funding led by WRV Capital. Qualcomm Ventures and Edelweiss Private Equity also participated in the round.
Brief History of Tonbo Imaging
Bengaluru based Startup Tonbo Imaging designs and manufactures advanced imaging and sensor systems to address critical market needs in military reconnaissance. Tonbo Imaging is founded and curated by Arvind Lakshmikumar who is an established domain expert in applied imaging technologies, computer vision, robotics and intelligent systems.
Tonbo Imaging is a spinout of Sarnoff Corporation and Stanford Research International. The team has rich experience on a range of battlefield modernization technologies, immersive surveillance and strategic electronics for military applications. The company principals and management have global experience being principal investigators for defence and aerospace programs. In the recent past Tonbo Imaging had secured $100 million deal with Peruvian Army as its first big assignment and is looking to work closely with other Armed forces including Indian Army. The company may also be looking to get its share in the recent initiative of the Indian Army of fencing the International Border of India and Pakistan with in applied imaging technologies, computer vision, robotics.
A brief peek into the India’s Defence Sector
Indian Defence sector comprises of 1.3 Mn active personnel and it is the 3rd largest military forces in the world. Indian Army has been reportedly importing its weaponry mainly from Russia, Israel and United States. Uptill the year 2011 the production of the Indian Defence Hardware was exclusively manufactured by the Government of India. India’s military budget is around 2.6% of the total GDP amounting to $40.07 billion in the financial year 2015.
Equipment’s manufacturing in defence sector is on the rise with the change in FDI norms. Recently Government of India allowed foreign companies to own as much as 100% equity in the local defence sector through the government approval route in cases where it is likely to result in access to modern technology. 100% FDI in defence will create a win-win situation for the country’s defence forces, local industries and international OEMs.
Make in India
The Modi government in its first year has agreed to 39 Capital procurement proposals worth $13 Bn to make and buy indigenous manufactured arms and ammunition. Since then several Indian companies are looking to seek inroad into the Indian Defence Sector. Some of the Indian companies venturing into this field are:
- Tata Group
- Mahindra Group
- Reliance Industries
- Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group
- Bharat Forge
- Hinduja Group
- Larsen & Toubro
Speaking on the development Nicholas Brathwaite, Managing Director, WRV Capital said, “Based on our experience in building and investing in imaging businesses globally, we believe that Tonbo is very well-positioned for rapid growth in both military and commercial markets. We will work closely with Tonbo to expand the use of their imaging platform into new market opportunities including surveillance and automotive applications. “