Defence tech startup Tonbo Imaging raises $17 Mn in Series B round

Tonbo Imaging

Tonbo Imaging, a Palo Alto and Bengaluru-based defence technologies startup, has raised $17 million in series B financing led by WRV Capital, the largest private venture investment in the domestic defence technology space.

Qualcomm Ventures and Edelweiss Private Equity also participated in the funding round.

The defence technology startup, which has won a $25-million border surveillance contract in North Africa and Europe (Macedonia border) to deploy electro-optics surveillance systems, will use the funds towards scaling up its technology and product offering, reports ET.

The company with annual revenue of more than Rs 100 crore has been valued north of Rs 400 crore.

“We plan to spend the funds on scaling up our international operations, which constitutes 70% of our revenue, and invest in R&D and product development on commercial businesses,” said Arvind Lakshmikumar chief executive Tonbo Imaging.

He further added, “We are (also) looking at acquiring companies with expertise in lasers and photonics, and are in discussion with a few firms worldwide.”

In 2008, Sarnoff Corporation and Stanford International Research had a management buyout and was renamed Tonbo (Japanese for dragonfly), a startup founded by Arvind Lakshmikumar,a BITS-Pilani and Carnegie Mellon University alumnus.

Tonbo Imaging makes advanced imaging and night-vision systems that are used for military and commercial applications. Its technology specialisation revolves around imaging, specifically thermal imaging, which provides enhanced vision in low-light conditions using heat signatures. It allows soldiers to see better at night over long ranges ­ the sophistication they need in modern battlefields.

Besides night-vision cameras, Tonbo specialises in products like firecontrol systems and drone reconnaissance using thermal imaging. As a result, Tonbo’s products has been snapped by the likes of DARPA, an arm of the US Department of Defence (DoD), US Navy SEALs and US Special Operations Command.


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With 170 employees base, offices in Bengaluru, Palo Alto, Greece, Poland and Singapore, the company’s growth is driven by increased demand from emerging markets that are looking to modernize their aging military equipment.

In 2012, the company raised series-A funding of Rs 34 crore from Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Artiman Ventures.

Other start-ups working in the same segment are CRON Systems, Aadyah Aerospace, ideaForge, VizExperts, to name a few.

Tonbo Imaging: Website

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