Defstartup org – Helping Defence Startups to Succeed

Defstartup org is a not-for-profit organization focused on supporting defence startups across stages of development. Founded in 2015 by a group of tech veterans and defence experts, it aims to bridge the gap between innovation happening in startups and requirements of the defence sector.

The Defence Innovation Network

At the core of is an active community of over 5000 defence startups, policymakers, armed forces officers, investors and mentors. Members leverage this network by:

  • Participating in networking events to connect with potential customers, partners or mentors.
  • Posting business or mentorship requirements which the community helps address.
  • Sharing market updates, RFP notifications and business opportunities.
  • Staying up to date with defence innovation happening through blogs, newsletters and webinars.

This large peer network fosters collaboration, idea sharing and acts as a launch pad for startups to showcase their innovations to the armed forces.

Support for Early Stage Startups

For early stage startups, offers the following programmes and resources:

  • Founder orientation seminars to navigate defence regulations and procurement processes.
  • Mentorship by veteran defence and industry leaders to advise on product-market fit.
  • Workspace and prototyping facilities at various incubators and research centres.
  • Assistance with applications to government innovation challenges and grants.
  • Showcasing innovations at expos and demo days to generate initial pilot project opportunities.
  • Guidance on financial planning, costing, revenue modelling from professional advisors.

This structured support equips startups to overcome initial challenges, refine their innovations and accelerate go-to-market plans for the defence sector.

Accelerating Proof-of-Concept and Pilots

Once startups have an MVP, facilitates pilot projects and trials through:

  • Connecting with different armed forces commands to understand field level needs.
  • Identifying potential pilot projects aligned to a startup’s capabilities.
  • Handholding startups through proposal submissions and demonstrations.
  • Funding support of up to ₹25 lakhs per project through their seed fund.
  • Facilitating access to test facilities for product evaluations and trials under real conditions.
  • Supporting startups commercially through procurement and contracting guidance.

This accelerates the commercialization process by helping startups to quickly test and validate their solutions through defence pilot deployments and feedback.

Enabling Scale Up and Series A Funding

Successful pilot alumni are groomed to scale up through:

  • Business plan mentoring from experienced defence Industry leaders.
  • Compliance guidance on registration, licensing and foreign investment rules.
  • Introductions to more extensive private and government procurement programs.
  • Series A and strategic funding connect with investors focused on the defense sector.
  • International expansion support through defense attaché network.
  • Acquisition readiness programs to attract OEM or platform partners.’s scale-up support enables startups to secure multi-million dollar contracts and series A funding ne mass produce for the defense community.

Helping Corporatize Startups as SME Vendors

For graduated startups, programs accelerate vendor onboarding:

  • Legal and financial consultations are needed to establish defence-focused SME companies.
  • Certification guidance on quality, security and process compliances like AS9100.
  • Workshops on bidding, costing, contracts and project management best practices.
  • Introduction to large defense prime vendors as potential sub-contract partners.
  • Mentored access to supply chain integration cells of defense PSUs.
  • Assistance with bank financing, working capital and supplier development programs.

This comprehensive package propels startups to become credible defense industry suppliers integrating with marquee platforms and programs.

Network of Innovation Partners works closely with various innovation partners:

  • The Ministry of Defence sponsors numerous programs and facilities.
  • Defence public and private sector partners enable R&D projects and trials.
  • State governments support through incubators focused on strategic sectors.
  • Academic partners drive applied research and talent collaboration projects.
  • International relations divisions facilitate global market access support.
  • Investors actively participate in the mentoring network and funding forums.

This extensive ecosystem accelerates business developments for startups through complementary resources beyond’s scope of services alone.

Measuring Impact and Outreach

Since its inception, has successfully:

  • Onboarded 2500+ startups working on strategic technologies.
  • Established 200+ pilot projects worth ₹500 crores with defence forces.
  • Conducted 500+ networking workshops engaging 12,000 participants.
  • Mentored 500 entrepreneurs through various incubation programs.
  • Facilitated 100+ investments worth $100 million into defense startups.
  • Enabled international expansion of 50 Indian startups with support missions.
  • Driven policy changes to simplify defense procurement processes.
  • Won numerous awards for contributors to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.

This large-scale industry engagement and measurable outcomes validate’s effectiveness in nurturing an innovation-driven Indian defense industry.

In Summary has established itself as a one-stop platform and trusted partner supporting defense technology entrepreneurs through every stage of business development. Leveraging its extensive innovation ecosystem, it addresses structural challenges for startups and accelerates their go-to-market capabilities using a holistic program approach. Tis vitalrole in realizing India’s strategic vision of self-reliance and modernization within the defense and aerospsectorsctor.