Monday, April 12

Startup success mantra: Been there, d(r)one that

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Impossible terrain, unmanageable weather… this startup’s raison d’être is to boldly go where it would be dangerous — or downright impossible — to send a human. And they do it with drones.

At the beginning of 2019, they had grabbed eyeballs when they had drones deliver refurbished mobile phones in New Town. Now, Kolkata-based startup Mikros Kosmos is on the verge of becoming the first Indian original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) to provide a packaged surveillance service to the Border Security Force using waterproof drones, image-processing and infrared imaging.

“We provide drone-based services to both private and government sectors,” said Gourango Putatunda, one of the founders. “We offer delivery, surveillance, real-estate photography, 3D mapping and volumetric analysis and drone rental services in the private sector. In the government sector, we offer surveillance and security systems via constant monitoring and image processing.”

Co-founder Srijan Dutta said the company had started manufacturing drones specialized for defence operations. “We recently conducted a demonstration session for the BSF and received an order for six drones. These drones will be able to detect unauthorized structures, trespassers, illegal activities and raise the alarm. We will also provide software that can be integrated with the CCTV surveillance system to alert BSF of intruders. This will make us the first OEM to provide this packaged service to the BSF,” he said, adding the all-weather drones can be used even at night.

Company staff will soon visit Army headquarters to demonstrate their drone, ‘Jatayu 1.0’, which can carry a payload of around 1kg.

Mikros Kosmos, however, has no plan to weaponise their tech. “We shall work according to the needs of the security forces,” Putatunda said.

The young group of seven is constantly thinking on its feet, the idea being to take the drones everywhere — especially to places where it’s difficult or dangerous to send humans. The company shall soon offer underwater drone services for private and government sectors. Putatunda said the applications of such services will include structural health determination of underwater structures such as piers of jetties and bridges, and outer hull survey of ships and other vessels. “It can also be used to determine water quality. This can be invaluable to fish-farming units. We shall commission the system in about six months,” he added.

Earlier, Mikros Kosmos used to source the drones before arming those with their technology. It has now started to manufacture its own drones. It plans to begin its B2C (business-to-consumer) venture in about a year.

The firm’s manufacturing unit is in Howrah, where it prepares moulds for drones. The parts, sourced from various parts of India and Israel, are assembled at its Salt Lake facility.

“We started by earning about Rs 25,000 in the first phase of our business,” said Pradipto V Mukherjee, the company’s marketing head. “In the last eight months, we have earned about Rs 78 lakh, providing services and reselling. Of this, Rs 6 lakh have come since April…. We are eyeing a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore by the end of this fiscal from the government sector, thanks to our Jatayu 1.0 package. The overall revenue target for Mikros Kosmos is Rs 9 crore.”

Arnav Mukherjee, another co-founder, said the immediate requirement was Rs 1 crore at least. “We have been bootstrapping since our inception, and are now in dire need of funds, as our innovations are outpacing our fund requirement.”



Source: Times of India

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