These 5 startups are helping the armed forces safeguard the country

More than two months ago, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman gave the Indian startup community the chance to stand up and defend their country. The minister threw a set of 11 challenges to solve technological problems faced by the defence forces to develop see-through armour, laser weaponry, unmanned surface, and underwater vehicles, and AI in logistics.

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s iDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence) initiative that was launched in April, the Ministry of Defence launched the ‘Defence India Startup Challenge’ in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission.

Already, several startups are working in the defence sector with their unique products and offerings. We bring to you five such startups.

Tonbo Imaging

Dust, smoke, fog, camouflage and even darkness can hamper vision on battlefields. This Bengaluru-based company builds advanced imaging and sensor systems to sense, understand and control these challenging environments. Founded in 2003 by Arvind Lakshmikumar and Ankit Kumar, the startup is a subsidiary of Sarnoff Corporation and Stanford Research International.

Tonbo Imaging uses micro-optics, lower power electronics and real-time vision that balances front end analog processing with sophisticated digital image processing to come up with low power imaging platforms across visible, mid-wave IR and long wave IR spectrums. The company has raised $ 23.4 million from Artiman Ventures, Walden Riverwood Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures.

Idea Forge

This Mumbai-based startup developed India’s first autonomous micro UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). Founded by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay alumni Ankit Mehta, Rahul Singh and Ashish Bhat in 2007, the company’s UAVs are used for surveillance, reconnaissance, imagery and other industrial applications today.

The company has so far received total funding of $10.1 million from Infosys, IndusAge Partners and Walden Riverwood Ventures.


Based in New Delhi, this startup began with a vision to transform data for the decision-making cycle. Founded by IIT-BHU alumnus Praveen Bhaniramka in 2006, VizExperts is a bootstrapped geospatial intelligence company.

Its 3D geospatial platform GEORBIS provides the army with real-time operation planning that helps in faster and critical decision making. In 2008, it invested $100,000 in its R&D wing for product development.

Axio Biosolutions

Leo Mavely, Founder Axio Biosolutions
This Bengaluru-based trauma care and device company provides medical aid solutions to armed forces. It was founded in 2008 by Leo Mavely.

Its flagship product, Axiostat is a chitosan-based haemostatic dressing that is sterile, single-use and non-absorbable. The company claims that it can stop severe external bleeding in less than five minutes, and is one of the first of its kind.

It has raised raised $9.9 million from Accel Partners, IDG Ventures India and UC-RNT Fund.

CRON Systems

This Haryana-based startup can secure borders with its IoT powered intrusion detection system. Founded by Farheen Ahmed, Tommy Katzenellenbogen, Tushar Chhabra and Saurav Agarwala in 2015, it caters to Border Security Force (BSF) and the Indian Army.

Its initial product line, the KV series, is powered by infrared and laser. It provides notifications upon border infiltration in all terrains and weather. The company claims its systems have already been implemented at the Indo-Pak border.

Currently, CRON Systems’ research lab is working on automated drones and smart fencing.

Although the company’s total seed amount remains undisclosed, YourNest Angel Fund, Techstars and Techstars Adelaide Accelerator have invested in it.


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