Info-tech

Flipkart founders invest $1 million in electric vehicle start-up Ather

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on December 02, 2014

Sachin Bansal (right) and Binny Bansal, Founders, Flipkart.com

Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal have invested $1 million in Chennai-based electric vehicle start-up Ather that focuses on designing high-speed electric two-wheelers for the Indian market.

This round of funding also includes an additional ₹25 lakh investment from successful serial entrepreneur and CEO of MEDALL, Raju Venkatraman.

Supported by IIT-Madras

Incubated and supported by the incubation cell at IIT-Madras, Ather is the brainchild of Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain and was founded in 2013 to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in India by creating the best electric two-wheeler in the market.

“The electric two-wheelers in the market are very mediocre products. We will have the first road-worthy prototypes of our electric scooters ready for trials in Bengaluru and Chennai over the next 4-6 months and will start selling one year from now,” Mehta told BusinessLine. “Our scooters will be superior to the Honda Activa and will also be priced higher than the Activa. With speeds of 75-80 kmph and superior battery performance, our scooters will be the best,” he said.

Ather raised its first round of funding of $100,000 in February this year from V Srinivas (founder, Aerospike) and the Technology Development Board. The fresh round of funding will primarily be used to develop the entire vehicle by the team of 15 engineers and designers at Ather. “We used the first round of funding to develop the battery pack. We will use this fresh round of funding to develop the charger, Android dashboard, battery management system and the entire mechanical systems of the vehicle,” added Mehta.

On being asked how they clinched $1 million from the Flipkart founders, Mehta said: “The Bansals saw that we are not just a company that builds technology and sells it to bigger OEMs. They liked the fact that we are building a superior product from the ground up and will sell the product with the Ather name. We are extremely confident that we will come out with the best electric scooter in the country and this funding reinforces our belief,” said Mehta.

Ather is now engaged in full vehicle design and testing. The initial performance validation is over and manufacturing partners are currently being brought on board.

To up headcount

The Ather team shares a common background in designing Formula SAE (Society of Automobile Engineers) – race cars for university competitions. The team will be ramped up to 30 people over the next 12 months. The fledging company is also one of the 13 members of the Government of India’s Technical Advisory Group for Electric Mobility.

This is the second $1 million investment made by the Flipkart founders over the last 10 days. The Bansals invested in Bengaluru-based offline game company MadRat Games on November 20.

Published on December 02, 2014
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