In Startup50 2016: For their ability to sustain momentum on their big, bold, hi-tech venture in the electric two wheeler segment. In October this year, Hero Motocorp, India’s largest two wheeler manufacturer announced an investment of Rs. 205 crore in the company.
Founders: Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain
Ather Energy was first noticed in Dec 2014, when Flipkart founders, Sachin and Binny Bansal made an angel investment in the company, in their personal capacities. However, for us at The Smart CEO, Ather Energy was a brand we were hearing about often (even then), thanks to the founders building the foundation for their startup at IIT madras. Founded by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, the company has made the right early moves to win in a capital-intensive, tough segment.
Getting the critical success factors right
In our startup ecosystem, Ather Energy is credited with identifying the critical success factors and tackling them early on. In the Smart Electric Scooter segment, large private equity rounds from the likes of Tiger Global will certainly help, but the backing of Hero Motocorp is touted to be a game changer.
Building the ecosystem
In addition to building the right IP and technology, it is critical to build the ecosystem to make electric scooters work. Mehta and team are gearing up to build the charging infrastructure, one city at a time.
As is often quoted, even a group like Tata Motors struggled to get the consumer angle right with Tata Nano. While the jury is still out on whether Ather’s S340 Smart Scooter will work, its marketing for now is heavily focused on what it offers consumers. From door step delivery to a smart, connected dashboard with Google Maps in the front console, it promises to be a consumer’s delight. Of course, only time will tell if this will be a hit in the long run.
Rs. 205 crore
Amount Hero Motorcorp invested
After the company raised angel funds in the late 2014, execution has been top notch
Where the company’s first manufacturing facility will be location