Ather Energy, the country's leading intelligent electric scooter manufacturer, today announced that it has raised investment of $51 million (Rs 355 crore) in its latest round of funding, which was led by Flipkart's Sachin Bansal's investment of $32 million (Rs 222 crore).
Ather Energy was one of the earliest start-ups that attracted investment from Sachin Bansal when he invested $0.5 million (Rs 3.5 crore) in the firm as an angel investor in 2014. Hero MotoCorp has converted its convertible debt of $19 million (Rs 132 crore) as a part of this round of funding, which now hikes the two-wheeler market leader's equity stake in the EV start-up to 35.10 percent (31.27% on a fully diluted basis) from 32.31 percent (29.94% on a fully diluted basis). In addition to this, InnoVen Capital has extended an $8 million (Rs 56 crore) venture debt.
Ather had launched its flagship scooter Ather 450 for pre-orders in Bangalore in June 2018 with deliveries beginning in September 2018. The company says the scooters have piqued the interest of automobile and tech enthusiasts alike, selling out stocks till September 2019. Ather is now entering an aggressive expansion phase, with the opening of pre-orders in Chennai in the coming weeks, and eventually scaling to 30 cities by the end of 2023.
To meet the projected demand in the coming years, the company is planning a new manufacturing facility which will be designed to produce 1 million vehicles a year. Ather Energy will also set up 6,500 Ather Grid fast charging points across the country over the next five years with a projected investment of Rs 130 crore.
In the past six months, the Ather 450 owners have clocked more than 600,000km in Bangalore and Ather Grid, the company’s public charging network, has 31 fast-charging points in the city and seven fast charging points in Chennai. Ather is the first in the country to offer innovative purchase options like lease, with monthly payments as low as Rs 2,517, which make the intelligent electric scooter accessible to the 18 million Indian two-wheeler market.
The company is a pioneer in the aftersales experience innovation with a subscription plan Ather One, which is a one-stop solution that includes doorstep pick up and service, 24X7 roadside assistance, free charging at home and in public etc. Being a connected vehicle, Ather 450 has received multiple over-the-air (OTA) updates since September 2018, adding features like new ride modes, guide-me-home lights, making them one of the fastest iteration cycles in the country.
Tarun Mehta, co-founder and CEO, Ather Energy, said: “Electric vehicles are here to stay and Ather is playing a leading role in driving this change. Sachin has been part of our growth journey and this investment is a strong endorsement of the momentum we’ve built over these years. After the successful launch in Bangalore, we are eager to reach out to consumers in other cities and to build more products that will excite consumers to switch to EVs. The changing landscape of personal transport has also offered us more opportunities and you will hear about the new business models that we are investing in very soon.”
According to Sachin Bansal, “The traditional auto industry is up for a redefinition. Watching Ather closely since my early investment in 2014, I am convinced that the ecosystem that Ather is building with their products is the future of urban mobility. Their focus on end to end customer experience will open up new revenue opportunities and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in India. The future is electric and I am excited to be a part of this journey in shaping the future.”
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