Three IIT Madras graduates united by their love for drones and building technology decided they wanted to contribute to the evolution of the Indian drone industry.
During their time at IIT, Rishabh Verma, Ashutosh Kumar, and Divyanshu Pundir started to experiment with it. They soon realized its immense potential and decided to explore ways in which it could be used to generate value in the industry.
Some of the things they realized: each drone’s design and technology were varied; a single person could control only one drone; this seemed inefficient and time-consuming if considered on a larger scale.
In order to solve these two major hurdles, the trio decided to develop UrbanMatrix.
UrbanMatrix designs and develops technologies related to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) including software and hardware. It enables drones to leverage the internet by providing an edge computing device and a powerful software layer in the form of an operating system. This operating system will enable a centralized operation for drones.
Set up in 2019 by Verma, Kumar, and Pundir, UrbanMatrix primarily offers 5 main products — UMT Hawk4G, UMT SparrowPPK, MatrixConsole, UMT LaunchPad, and MatrixCC. It mainly uses technologies such as design engineering, embedded systems, and software for the backend and front end.
The highlight of the products offered by the startup is the MartixCC. Verma, co-founder of UrbanMatrix told Entrackr, “In very short, MatrixCC is a small computer.” This product is manufactured by the company and is meant to be used as a part of a drone. MatrixCC comes with a 5G/4G module and will enable any drone to connect to the internet.
“Once you attach the computer to the drone, the drone can do so many things which were earlier impossible,” Verma explained. This adds a new feature to the simple pilot-drone duo; this allows multiple drones to be controlled and managed by a single person. The MatrixCC centralizes and makes the entire process automatic along with providing live data that the drone picks up.
Since this is a very sensitive technology which can be easily misused, the government has mandated tempered proofing, which is a controlled system to make sure the technology is not misused. The MatrixCC product gives the government the information it needs like the live location of the drone, the user, the company etc.
With technologies such as MatrixCC, it is of utmost importance to make sure the data and the technology remain secure, the DGCA requires companies to prove that their technology cannot be tampered with. UrbanMatrix is approved by DGCA, and a user cannot control the drone without getting permission from the company.
The Bengaluru-based startup currently has two business models: to sell drones to industries and agencies and to sell drone management software to drone manufacturers on a subscription basis.
A move from the government’s side that worked to the advantage of the company was the banning of the import of drones earlier this year by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT). This gave Indian drone manufacturers an opportunity to spread their wings in the Indian market.
This also gave UrbanMatrix an opportunity to make their products completely manufactured and made in India.
One of the company’s future plans include targeting Indian drone manufacturers for the initial adoption and feedback of MatrixCC. UrbanMatrix plans to focus on making necessary modifications according to the initial trials. The startup also has placed a target of onboarding 100,000 drones by the end of 2026.
UrbanMatrix had a pre-seed funding worth $500,000 last year from Lets Venture, O2 Angels, Fair Angels, and SARA Elgi.
Zeroing in on the commercial drone software market, which is currently worth $5.1 billion and is expected to grow to $11.2 billion by 2027, the company has local competition from the side of Vyarious and international competition from FlytBase.