DroneAcharya eyes runway success from training 25k drone pilots a year


DroneAcharya Aerial Innovations Ltd, which is backed by ace investor Shankar Sharma, is seeking to boost its operating revenues by 300% within three years by training 25,000 drone pilots each year, according to founder and managing director Prateek Srivastava.

“For FY24, topline should be 50-60 crore and 18-20% PAT (profit after tax). For next three years, we are looking at 300% year-on-year growth in topline and 18-20% PAT. Optimistically and conservatively around 300% is very achievable.” Srivastava said the long-term plan is to raise the topline to 1,000 crore by 2026-27.

According to Srivastava, the company expects to post profit of around 4 crore and operating revenue of 18 crore for the current fiscal year. In the first quarter, the company posted net profit of around 70 lakh, and continued to perform well in the September quarter.

Srivastava started his career at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2007 as a research fellow. In 2013, he entered the drone industry and launched DroneAcharya in 2017. During 2013-2017, he worked at the Indian units of global drone majors PrecisionHawk and Terra Drone.

The markets were taken by surprise when DroneAcharya’s initial public offering was subscribed by over 177 times last week. Against an issue size of 34 crore, the IPO received subscriptions for 6,016 crore.

“Shankar is a long-time professional investor. He guided me to go public, though at that point in time, the firm was in initial stages. But then, he convinced me. Otherwise, the plan was to go public in 2023-2024 but then we fast-tracked it by a year. It helped and the results are here for everyone to see,” Srivastava said, adding that he is confident of growth as the firm has a solution to an acute problem—shortage of pilots.

“India requires thousands of registered pilots and there are not more than 10 active training organisations. We are one. Currently, we enjoy 25% market share, which we intend to maintain or grow within three years. So even just considering just 10,000 pilots and an average of 45,000- 50,000 in fees work out to 50 crore,” he said.

The long-term plan is to train around 25,000 drone pilots every year. DroneAcharya will increase the number of training schools from just two, in Gandhinagar and Pune, to eight within four months, and to 25 by March 2024, including four schools in the North-East. It offers 12 courses with subjects ranging from geospatial information system to cinematography to a Directorate General of Civil Aviation-certified pilot.

“Currently, we have capacity of 200 students per month, but training about 40-50 students. By April, we are looking at an utilization rate of 2,000 students a month. We are also getting .We are also getting” he added.

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