Where there is a will there is a way. This proverb goes well with Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, founders of Ather Energy. After being rejected numerous times in endless VC meetings, the duo has finally managed to bag some good funding for Ather.
Ather was born in the premises of IIT Madras, the same place where Tarun and Swapnil did their engineering and jumped on to join the “Entrepreneurship Revolution” in India. Started in 2013, Ather plans to develop smart electric vehicles of future. The company visions to develop vehicles which can connect seamlessly and be eco-friendly.
Ather is developing Ather-S340 to compete with any petrol or electric scooters. Ather-S340 boasts a lithium-Ion battery pack and a fully featured digital touchscreen dashboard, has a light-weight aluminium chassis and offers a top speed of 75 kmph. Ather claims this to become the first EV (Electric Vehicle) to be fully designed and developed in India. Taking the IOT on step further into automobiles the vehicle will be powered by Android and vehicle’s data will be constantly logged and monitored. The smart vehicle will also boast theft protection and navigation features.
Coming back to the Ather story, the first funding of Ather came from the founders of Flipkart (Sachin and Binny Bansal) which was followed by another investment from Tiger Global. Though looks great, but getting this investment wasn’t such an easy pie for Tarun and Swapnil. Before approaching flipkart founders, the duo approached multiple investors looking for some funding. But they were either rejected outright or were given advise to create some app or do something in the food sector (looking at the latest wave of food-related startups). This was depressing but duo kept their vision firm and put together a list of people who started non-conventional businesses in India and wrote to them. First to respond were Flipkart founders.
The duo reached out to Sachin Bansal for some advise and getting introduced to some investors. Though investors didn’t came up at first point but Sachin did, thus giving Ather its first funding of $1million in December 2014. With the word or Sachin Bansal investing in Ather spreading, the duo got another round of funding of $12 million by Tiger Global in May 2015.
Currently the company has a strength of around 40 people and is planning to launch its first vehicle in market by 2016. Step into their office in Bangalore would make you realize how dynamic and energetic this company and its culture is and how a good idea coupled by good investments can get transformations.
Though still in very early stage, the team working in Ather looks promising with people mostly coming from engineering and designing backgrounds. It would be worthwhile to follow Ather to see how it goes in future run, but for now it is definitely a initial success story and a motivation to look forward to!