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Leading Indian drone maker Johnnettee Technologies Ltd raised nearly $1 million (Rs 75 lakh) in initial round of funding from Hardcastle Petrofer, a Bangalore-based firm which makes industrial oils.

“The pre-series A round fund will be used to scale up making unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and our drone pilot training business,” said the Noida-based company in a statement.

According to an industry study, the global drone market is expected to grow steadily in view of its increasing demand for UAVs in defence and commercial sectors the world over.

“The UAV sector has huge opportunities and potential to contribute 4-5 per cent to the national gross domestic product (GDP) in the coming years due to its multiplier effect,” said the statement.

As per the state-run public policy think tank Niti Aayog estimate, the UAV market will grow to $50 billion over the next15 years across the country.

Johnnette founder chief executive Lieutenant Commander John Livingstone began his entrepreneurial journey in 2014 after retiring from Indian Navy to roll out drones to meet the growing demand for drone pilots the world over.

“The investment will be utilised for product development and expansion of our team, as we provide cost-effective indigenous products to the defence forces,” said Livingstone on the occasion.

The pre-series funding will also help the company to refine its products and enter the untapped market with a solution for industrial-based applications.

The 7-year-old company has pioneered unmanned systems technology to provide cutting-edge aerspace systems to the paramilitary, commercial, aerospace and defence sectors.

As a subsidiary of Johnnette, the Indian Institute of Drones has trained about 3,000 drone pilots so far.

Hardcastle chairman Achal Jatia said the Indian drone industry would soon be the drone hub of the world.

As an Indo-German company, Hardcastle Petrofer has a strong presence in the Indian metal processing chemicals field.

Founded in Germany 5 decades ago, Petrofer has attained market leadership in product development and customer service.

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