Ather Energy, the Bengaluru-based smart electric two-wheeler start-up, today announced a fresh round of funding of Rs 180 crore from two-wheeler major Hero MotoCorp for a 26-30 percent stake.
The funding marks the third round of investments in Ather Energy, which is building the S340 – India’s first smart, electric scooter. Previous rounds of investments in the company were by Tiger Global, and Sachin and Binny Bansal, promoters of Flipkart, in their personal capacity.
Speaking on the new 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" The Board of directors of Hero MotoCorp, in its meeting held on October 26, 2016, approved an investment of up to Rs 205 crore, of which the immediate tranche is of Rs 180 crore.
Commenting on this investment, Pawan Munjal, chairman, MD and CEO of Hero MotoCorp, said, “Hero MotoCorp intends to enhance its participation in the electric vehicle space by pursuing its internal EV programme in addition to partnering with Ather. The latter 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. We are excited to be a strategic investor and see this as an important step in building the necessary eco-system needed to support commercialisation of EVs in the country.”
Earlier this year, Ather unveiled the S340, an electric scooter with a lithium-ion battery pack, top speed of 72kph and a range of 60km. The funding from Hero MotoCorp is likely to accelerate the commercial launch of the S340, which has been pushed to early 2017 from end-2016. Moreover, Ather might be able to leverage the country’s largest two-wheeler maker’s expertise in other domains such as marketing and supply post launch of the scooter.
The company aims to improve the ownership experience through doorstep delivery and servicing and a mobile app for remote access and configuration. Ather also aims at setting up a ubiquitous charging infrastructure in every city it will operate in, partnering with government and private enterprises.