MS Dhoni, the former captain of the international Indian cricket team, has invested an unknown sum in Garuda Aerospace, India’s biggest drone-as-a-service (DaaS) provider.
Dhoni will also serve as the company’s face and brand ambassador. The investment is part of a bridge deal leading to a 30 million USD Series A financing. The startup’s founder, Agnishwar Jayaprakash, confirmed that the current funding round would close by the end of July at 250 million USD.
In a conversation with ET, Jayaprakash revealed that “Dhoni has decided to onboard the company as an investor and the brand ambassador. He has seen what we aim to achieve and believes in our vision. We could not have asked for a better partner or ambassador.”
While the founder did not disclose the investment quantum, he said that Dhoni and a few other investors had joined the company in a pre-Series A bridge round.
“By the end of July, we will have closed our 30 million USD Series A investment, valuing our company at 250 million USD.” It is the most significant Series A round in the history of any drone firm. We have had a lot of interest since our PM Modi launched the Drone Mahotsav,” he remarked.
In a statement released by Garuda Aerospace on Monday, Dhoni was quoted, “I’m thrilled to be a part of Garuda Aerospace and look forward to witnessing their growth narrative with the innovative drone solutions they have to offer.”
More About Garuda Aerospace
Garuda Aerospace, founded in 2015, has made major gains in the drone startup space.
Sanitation, agriculture spraying, mapping, industries, security, delivery, and surveillance are among the 38 uses the business has created drones.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and the world’s richest man, had acknowledged the company’s operational expertise on Twitter last year. Consequently, the Surya drone, which may potentially clean solar panels at Singapore’s new floating solar farms, received a 1 million USD term sheet from a worldwide fund.
Garuda has also entered the defense industry, receiving a substantial order from the Ministry of Defense for 33 anti-drone systems.
During Covid, Garuda drones were utilized extensively for sanitization and medicine delivery in cities across India, including Varanasi, Raipur, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
Svamitva conducted a land survey in Uttar Pradesh to map 1,000 villages. It was done to create digital ownership records that are now available online.
Dhoni is a Popular Investor Among Indian Startups
MS Dhoni has invested in several companies and startups. Some of his major investments include:
- Ranchi Rays: Dhoni and the Sahara India Pariwar share ownership of a Hockey India League hockey club franchise.
- Chennaiyin FC: It is an Indian Super League football club co-owned by Dhoni, Abhishek Bachchan, and Vita Dani.
- Mahi Racing Team India: With his passion for motorcycles, Dhoni has teamed up with Akkineni Nagarjuna to form a World Super Bike Championship squad.
- SportsFit: In 2012, Dhoni co-founded his fitness company. Sports Fit is a gym franchise with multiple locations open and operational in India.
- Cars24: M S Dhoni made a Series D investment in Cars24, an online used automobile marketplace, in 2019.
- Seven: MS Dhoni has also developed a lifestyle brand called SEVEN, which he owns the shoe division.
- Khatabook: The cricketer invested an undisclosed amount of equity capital in Khatabook, a Bengaluru-based company ledger app.