A little known company based in Bangalore, Ather Energy which
is currently designing an electric two-wheeler, has received funding of US $12
million (Rs 75.33 crore) from Tiger Global. The new round of funding will be
used for development, testing, production and the launch of Ather’s first smart
electric two-wheeler – the Ather S340. Ather will be joining the likes of Hero
Eco and others in the electric two wheeler industry.
“Ather Energy aims to
build smart, connected electric vehicles of the future. We want to offer the
Indian consumer a completely new driving experience by developing a product
that would be at par with any petrol or electric two-wheelers available in the
market today. This investment will help us continue to evolve our product and
scale it towards launch. We are very excited with the interest shown by Tiger
Global and all our investors”, said Tarun Mehta, CEO and co-founder of Ather
Energy, in a press statement.
Ather had received
its first seed fund of US $1 million in late 2014 from Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal,
founders of Flipkart, and Raju Venkatraman of Medall Healthcare, which provided
the initial impetus for Ather’s growth plans.
Lee Fixel from Tiger Global said, “We are impressed with
Ather’s vision of building smart electric vehicles that have a potential to
revolutionise the driving experience. We see great potential in Ather’s product
offering and the technology and are confident that their maiden launch will
attract tremendous positive response. We look forward to partnering with the
Ather team and bring their vision to fruition.”
The Ather-S340 is a connected vehicle powered by lithium-Ion
battery pack, featuring a digital touchscreen dashboard, has a light-weight
aluminium chassis and offers a top speed of 75 kmph. It has been designed by
Ather from ground-up and will be the first electric scooter to be completely
designed & manufactured in India. Some of the features in the smart
dashboard will enable users to create personalized profiles, choose riding
modes and set other ride preferences. The S340 will also be one of the first
connected vehicles in the country. This will ensure that all vehicle data is
constantly logged and monitored enabling on-board diagnostics and issuing
notifications for any maintenance.
Ather is currently at an advanced stage of integration on
the vehicle platform and testing of the functional prototype. Test rides are
scheduled for October this year and the company is already seeing an increasing
number of sign-ups for the same on their website. The Ather-S340 is planned for
launch in Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi by early 2016.
Ather Energy is the brainchild of IIT-Madras graduates Tarun
Mehta and Swapnil Jain. The idea of developing a smart electric two-wheeler
which would compete with the best in the market was incubated in 2013, at their
alma mater’s Engineering Design Department under the mentorship of Prof.
Krishna Kumar and later under the Incubation Cell at IIT Madras.
Source: Ather Energy