W Power 2024

Rama Krishna Mendu and Chirag Jain: The drone boys

The co-founders of EndureAir Systems provide drones with customised solutions to cater to tricky terrains

Published: Feb 29, 2024 12:44:29 PM IST
Updated: Feb 29, 2024 12:54:39 PM IST

Rama Krishna Mendu and Chirag Jain: The drone boys Rama Krishna Mendu and Chirag Jain (right) Image: Amit Verma; Directed By: Kapil Kashyap Outfit: Saggar Mehra; Styled By: Aarushi Gaur

Rama Krishna Mendu | 26
Co-founder and CEO, EndureAir Systems
Chirag Jain | 29
Co-founder and CTO, EndureAir Systems

It is said flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. This is exactly what two aerospace engineering students are rolling out on full throttle, a flight that took off at IIT-Kanpur. In 2018, co-founders Rama Krishna Mendu and Chirag Jain along with Abhishek, professor of aerospace engineering at IIT-Kanpur, started EndureAir Systems to offer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) solutions or manufacture aerial robotics in an indigenous way. Or, simply put, ‘Made In India’ drones.

“We wanted to provide drones or aerial robotics with ease of operation and customised solutions to cater to tricky terrains and situations,” says Mendu. He is also CEO of EndureAir Systems and an expert in structural and experimental aerodynamics.

The drones that EndureAir Systems—based in Noida, NCR—have designed, developed and manufactured are used for surveillance, logistics delivery, disaster management, crowd control, precision agriculture and video monitoring. “Rigorously tested in various challenging terrains, from Khardung La in Ladakh and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh to the maritime conditions of Mumbai, our drones are built with innovations for real-time solutions,” says Jain.

With a BTech in mechanical engineering from IIT-Patna and a master’s in aerospace engineering from IIT-Kanpur, Jain met Mendu at IIT-Kanpur’s innovation lab while working for projects under Abhishek. Mendu has a bachelor’s and a master’s in aerospace engineering from IIT-Kanpur.

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With funds of ₹33 crore raised from investors, including the Dani family of Asian Paints and co-founders of Addverb Technologies, EndureAir aims to expand to the Middle East, Europe and North America. Its solutions have been part of the ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project, have assisted in the National Disaster Response Force relief operations at Chamoli, and the Uttarkashi tunnel rescue operation.

While most of their orders are from the Indian Army, the company boasts an order book of around ₹20 crore, with 25 percent coming from private players. It is targeting to raise this to nearly ₹50 crore in six month, with a focus on expansion of supplies to the Air Force and Navy.

Rama Krishna Mendu and Chirag Jain: The drone boys

EndureAir has more than eight patents, and its team has grown to 120 from 60 in a year. Its revenue escalated to ₹2.26 crore in FY23 from ₹32 lakh in FY21, while it incurred a loss of ₹3.07 crore in FY23. In FY21, its loss was ₹7 lakh.

(This story appears in the 23 February, 2024 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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