How Did ideaForge Go from IIT Bombay's Incubator to a Unicorn IPO?

From IIT Bombay's incubator to a unicorn IPO - how did IdeaForge achieve such soaring success? What's the secret to their drone technology dominance? Check out ideaForge's startup story in this exclusive interaction with co-founder Rahul Singh!

Shreshtha Verma
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In a world where startups often face multiple failures and challenges before making a mark, ideaForge Technology Pvt. Ltd. stands as a shining example of resilience and innovation. Founded by a group of visionary students at IIT Bombay, ideaForge embarked on a remarkable journey of creating cutting-edge drone technology in a time when drones were still in their infancy. After 17 years of dedication and hard work, the company recently achieved a significant milestone by launching its IPO and earning the coveted unicorn status. In an era where technology is rapidly evolving, and most startups grapple with early setbacks, ideaForge has not only persevered but also emerged as one of the leading drone startups in the country.

Recently, during ISBACon 2023 in Mumbai, TICE had an exclusive conversation with Mr. Rahul Singh, the Co-founder and VP of Engineering at ideaForge Technology Pvt. Ltd. He shares his insights into the inspiring startup journey of ideaForge, the ever-evolving landscape of startups and technology and ideaForge IPO.

Watch Full Story Of ideaForge Technology with Mr. Rahul Singh | TICE TV

ideaForge's Journey from Inception to Unicorn

Singh shares the inspiring story of how a group of IIT Bombay students founded ideaForge, and over 17 years, turned it into a leading drone startup, recently launching an IPO and achieving unicorn status.

The story of ideaForge starts about 17 to 20 years back when our co-founding team came together as students at IIT Bombay. We started tinkering with technology and had fun creating impactful outcomes, which convinced us to create an enterprise. In 2007, we incorporated our company as ideaForge and began our journey. At that time, drones were relatively unknown, and we had to start from scratch to build both the technology and educate the market about the potential of drones. It took longer than expected, but today, we are one of the largest drone manufacturers in India for defense and civil applications, with international growth.

 The Expansive Role of Drones in Multiple Industries

Rahul explains how drones have evolved beyond capturing images to become versatile tools for surveillance, agriculture, and other industries.

Drones, from an aerial perspective, can collect information or move things. We focus on applications with high utilization and frequency of usage, such as surveillance, agriculture, mining, and construction. Drones are also becoming integral in mobility applications, making their future look increasingly common but impactful.

Challenges in Launching an IPO

He shares the challenges and importance of launching an IPO for a startup.

Going public involved more compliance and disclosure efforts, but it's necessary to gain the public's trust and confidence in our growth story. Disclosing business practices and plans ensures that our growth can be verified and backed up, which benefits both the organization and the public.

The Role of IIT Bombay in ideaForge's Journey

Rahul highlights the significance of IIT Bombay in their journey.

IIT Bombay played a pivotal role, contributing to our competency and capability with students from the institute. The incubator at IIT Bombay supported us during the early stages when the ecosystem was challenging for a startup. We continue to collaborate with IIT Bombay, creating win-win scenarios for both academia and industry.

Evolution of the Indian Startup Ecosystem

Rahul discusses how the Indian startup ecosystem has become more favorable for entrepreneurs.

Today, India has become more entrepreneurship-friendly with improved ease of doing business, access to capital, and the expansion of the digital economy, offering new opportunities. It's an exciting time for entrepreneurship in India, benefiting both entrepreneurs and society.

How to Survive Funding Winters? - Sustainable Business Practices

Rahul advises new-age startups on surviving in challenging funding environments.

Business sustainability is key. Avoid over-dependence on external funding, as a sustainable approach can help you continue even in tough funding situations. Our values are based on the theme of flight, emphasizing sustainable practices.

Rahul's Mantra for Entrepreneurial Success

Rahul shares his personal mantra for entrepreneurial success.

Do something you are passionate about and committed to. Having a clear purpose, beyond profit and people, is crucial. The journey itself, driven by a strong purpose, makes the challenges worthwhile.

The Role of Incubation in a Startup Journey

Rahul explains the importance of incubation in a startup's growth.

Incubation acts as a support system, like guardrails for a young plant. It provides support, both financial and emotional, allowing startups to grow and thrive in the harsh environment of the real world. Incubation plays a significant role in the journey of enterprises.

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