Ather Energy, a Bangalore-based startup that is creating a smart connected two wheeler, has received a whopping ₹180 crore in its Series B round of funding. Interestingly, the funding comes from Hero MotoCorp, one of the biggest automotive company in the world.
Commenting on this investment, Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp, said,
As the market leader and a global automotive major, Hero takes the lead in many areas that benefit the environment, customer and industry. Adoption of environment-friendly fuel is a priority for Hero, as is propagating sustainable manufacturing through green facilities. Hero MotoCorp intends to enhance its participation in the EV space by pursuing its internal EV program in addition to partnering with Ather.
Ather is the best start-up in the two-wheeler EV space and we firmly believe that they are on the way to become one of the leaders in India, potentially even globally. They bring together a vision with high aspiration, ability to progress rapidly and the humility to learn and improve continually. We are excited to be a strategic investor and see this as an important step in building the necessary ecosystem needed to support commercialisation of EVs in the country.
While the Board of Directors at Hero MotoCorp has approved the amount of ₹205 crore, the company has invested ₹180 crore in the first tranche. For this, the company has received around 26-30 percent stake in the startup.
This is the third round of funding raised by the company. Earlier, in May 2015, the startup had raised $12 Million in Series A round of funding from Tiger Global Management. Prior to that, it had received $1 million in seed funding from Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal.
Speaking on the investment, Tarun Mehta, CEO and co-founder of Ather Energy said,
The funding is a strong validation of our product roadmap and technology capability, endorsed by one of the biggest global automotive players. We believe smart connected electric vehicles are the future and India will be an important global player in it. Our vision is to fast forward to that future and this investment will help us leapfrog several years of automotive experience.
With the new funding raised, the money will now be invested by the company to sustain momentum in its journey of building a future-ready product platform. It will also spend the amount to accelerate the infrastructure and ecosystem development around electric vehicles in the country.
Last year, the company unveiled its first connected vehicle — S340. Powered by a Lithium ion battery pack, it can reach the top speed of 72 kmph and a range of 60 km. It also has vehicle intelligence which enables on board navigation, pre-emptive diagnostics, remote configuration and personalised ride profiles through a touchscreen dashboard and mobile app.
What is more interesting is that along with the new technology, the company is also promising a richer ownership experience. The experience extends to the go-to-market strategy with a combination of online sales complemented by experience centres that will bring the brand to life.
The ownership experience also ensures convenience through door step delivery and servicing and a mobile app for remote access and configuration. The company is also aims at setting up a ubiquitous charging infrastructure in every city it will operate in, partnering with government and private enterprises.