Night-Vision Startup From India Cracks The Defence Sector; Customers Include Indian & U.S. Defense Depts
Tonbo Imaging from Bangalore, which is a startup specializing in night-vision equipment has finally cracked the much coveted defence sector. Orders are pouring in from all over the globe as contracts worth Rs 331 crore are in the pipeline.
And the biggest surprise: DARPA, an advanced-technology branch of U.S. Department of Defense is now one of their customers!
Working on cutting edge technology, Tonbo creates high end night-vision equipment, which are used in the defense sector. Their products are being used in observation platforms, reconnaissance drones, and artillery and naval weapon systems.
Competing against billion dollar defense contractors such as Thales, Elbit and Tata Group, this tiny $200 million worth startup has bagged some exclusive contracts from top defense organizations around the globe.
Tonbo founder Arvind Lakshmikumar said, “The fact that our technology was embraced by all these agencies has given us the thrust to leapfrog foreign competitors.. Our investment in indigenous research and development and engineering is starting to pay off,”
As per Arvind, the company is expecting to cross revenues worth Rs 172 crore by the end of 2015.
Arvind, who is studied at BITS Pilani and Carnegie Mellon University, said, “This makes us one of the largest privately held electro-optics companies in the world and the largest in India.”
After completing his studies, Arvind worked in the US with some of the largest defense companies such as Intelligent Automation, Honeywell and Sarnoff ; where he built and created imaging solutions for large defence contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
In 2008, he returned to India and started Tonbo (which means dragonfly in Japanese)
Such is the power of their innovation and high end engineering capability, that Tonbo is right now India’s only indigenous manufacturer and exporter of thermal imaging-based devices. Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence have launched several electro-optics and night vision programs for making our defence sector strong; and Tonbo is on-board on every such project!
For instance, Indian Navy’s 12.7 mm remote controlled gun platforms will soon feature Tonbo’s equipment; and they will supply their units to bidders of Indian Army’s Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle programme (which is India’s largest indigenous defence programme at $10 billion expense)
Tonbo is backed by Artiman Ventures and has offices in Bengaluru, Palo Alto and Singapore, backed by 85 employees.
Cracking the defence sector, where only large contractors and billion dollar companies venture, is indeed a big achievement. Tonbo has successfully demonstrated that Indian startups have no boundary left now.