Drone Rx: Zoho Backs India's Flying Pharmacy Yali

Stuck in a remote area with a medical emergency? Zoho might have the answer! They've invested in a Tamil Nadu startup creating drones that deliver medicine in record time. Could this be the future of healthcare in India? Read more to find out!

Swati Dayal
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Med by Drone in 20 Mins

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Zoho Corporation, the Chennai/US-based software giant, has made a strategic investment in Yali Aerospace, a promising drone startup based in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. This move signals Zoho's growing interest in emerging technologies beyond its core software business.


Sridhar Vembu, co-founder and CEO of Zoho, announced the investment on social media, highlighting the innovative spirit of Yali Aerospace.

"We are happy to announce our investment in Yali Aerospace, a drone startup based in Tanjavur led by the husband-wife team of Dinesh Baluraj and Anugraha," Vembu wrote. "They returned from the Netherlands to their hometown to start this venture."

Yali's Game-Changing Drone Technology


Yali Aerospace, founded in 2022 by Dinesh Baluraj, Anugraha Ganesan, and Mathuravani, specializes in developing user-friendly drone technology for various applications, including civil and military use. Their flagship product is a fixed-wing drone with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities, designed specifically for critical medical deliveries.

"Yali's drones solve the problem of delivering medicines and organs to remote hospitals," explained Vembu. "With a range of 150 kilometers, a payload capacity of 7 kilograms, and a maximum speed of 155 kilometers per hour, these drones can revolutionize emergency medical response times in remote areas."

Yali Aerospace, the medtech startup, is working towards revolutionizing medical logistics:


"Yali introduces an era of delivering medical commodities to any destination in India in less than 20 minutes through the Yali Network Bridge."

Zoho's Diversification Strategy

This investment aligns with Zoho's recent focus on expanding its horizons beyond core software solutions. In May 2024, news emerged about Zoho's potential entry into the chip-making industry, with reports of a possible $700 million investment plan. Additionally, in March 2024, Zoho announced a significant investment of nearly Rs 1,100 crore to support Saudi Arabia's digital infrastructure development, aligning with the country's Vision 2030 goals.

Vembu's announcement coincides with a surge in investor interest within the Indian drone industry. Yali Aerospace's innovative solutions for medical deliveries have the potential to significantly improve healthcare outcomes in remote locations, and Zoho's backing positions them for further growth and impact. This collaboration between a software giant and a leading drone startup is a promising sign for the future of medical logistics and technological advancements in India.

India's Drone Market Takes Flight: Soaring Sales and Top Players

India's drone industry is experiencing a takeoff, with the annual sales turnover projected to reach a staggering Rs 900 crore by 2024-25. This growth is fueled by a global market poised to hit $54 billion by 2025, with India well-positioned to capture a substantial share, potentially reaching $4.2 billion and expanding to $23 billion by 2030 (EY-FICCI report 'Making India the drone hub of the world').

Leading the charge are innovative startups like IdeaForge, Newspace Research and Technologies, Garuda Aerospace, and Marut Drones. These companies are developing cutting-edge drone technology for diverse applications, from agriculture and construction to surveillance and logistics.

The Indian government is playing a key role in propelling this growth. Initiatives like the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme offer financial incentives for domestic drone manufacturing, while import bans on specific drones aim to boost local production.

Furthermore, recent schemes like "Drone Shakti" and "Kisan Drones" specifically target the use of drones in the defense and agriculture sectors, respectively. Additionally, the "Drone Didi" program aims to empower women entrepreneurs in the drone industry, fostering wider participation across the ecosystem.

These combined efforts, alongside the easing of drone operation policies and the establishment of digital airspace mapping, are creating a fertile ground for Indian drone startups to take flight.

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