In 2008, Ankit Mehta and friends watched in horror as the Mumbai terror attacks played out on live television. The mass killing and plight of hundreds trapped inside hotels and the Jewish Chabad house spurred the team to develop unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, to assist security forces during hostage situations.
Now, more than a decade later, their company, ideaForge, has bagged a $20 million contract from the Indian Army to supply high-altitude drones. Their company was the only one that met the operations requirements of the Indian Army.
Mehta is the co-founder and CEO of ideaForge. The other three co-founders are Rahul Singh, VP, Engineering; Ashish Bhat, VP, R&D; and Vipul Joshi, VP, Operations.
Back in 2008, Mehta, Singh and Bhat, all IIT-Bombay graduates, had been working on drone technology for fun. The 26/11 attacks, however, helped them focus their efforts. In no time, they prepared a prototype for an unmanned drone, giving the world a glimpse of their creation in the critically acclaimed movie 3 Idiots, in 2009.
Since then there has been no looking back. ideaForge, has signed numerous contracts with security agencies and defence forces, culminating with the recent, $20-million deal with the Indian Army for high-altitude drones.