Indian All-Electric Rides Platform BluSmart Mobility Bags US$7M Pre-Series A Funding

BluSmart Mobility aims to increase its electric vehicle fleet by the thousands next year

Indian all-electric on-demand ride hailing platform BluSmart Mobility has secured US$7 million (INR510 million) in pre-Series A funding from a consortium of investors, the startup announced in a statement yesterday.

Investors who participated in the round include U.S.-based venture investor Inflection Point Ventures, as well as several Indian investors, namely startup incubator Venture Catalysts, investment firm Chhatisgarh Investments and financial services company Centrum Group’s private equity arm Kalpavriksh Fund, the statement said.

Automotive founder-promoter Suman Kant Munjal’s family office Survam Partners, and angel investment funds Mumbai Angels, JITO Angels and Lets Venture Fund also invested in the round, the statement noted.

Apart from Chhatisgarh Investments, all participating investors in the pre-Series A round are existing backers of the startup, according to Crunchbase data.

BluSmart Mobility will direct the fresh funds towards increasing the number of cars available on its platform, building more charging infrastructure points for the vehicles, enhancing its technology and broadening the platform’s geographical reach, the statement noted.

In addition to the pre-Series A, the electric vehicle startup is also in talks to raise venture debt, although it did not disclose further information on this.

Electric vehicles are the “next big thing” for the Indian subcontinent, Co-founder of BluSmart Mobility, Punit K Goyal noted in the statement.

“BluSmart aims to improve the status of commuting and curbing the burden on environment caused due to transport running on fuel combustion. We are also looking at augmenting the electric vehicle uptake by expanding fast electric car charging infrastructure for an easy charging practice,” Goyal said.

BluSmart Mobility provides electric ride-sharing cabs in India’s National Capital Region (NCR) in Delhi, with its key offerings being Zero Surge Mobility, Zero Emission Mobility and Zero Ride Denials.

The startup has so far clocked over 200,000 trips on its platform, covering over three million clean miles, and saving over 400 tons in carbon emissions. It further plans to add thousands of electric cars and hundreds of charging stations to its platform by 2021, the statement said.

The company aims to bring “a new narrative” in the electric vehicles space, Co-founder of BluSmart Mobility, Anmol Singh Jaggi said in the statement. He added that the startup aims to transform “India’s mega-cities by providing convenient, sustainable and affordable mobility with great benefits for consumers, businesses and society at large.”

Prior to this funding round, BluSmart Mobility had earlier raised seed funding to the tune of INR370 million ($5 million at current rates) in July this year. In 2019, the company had also raised two seed rounds of INR150 million (around $2 million at current rates) in August and $3 million in September.

The company launched its electric vehicle taxi fleet in January last year and has raised over $17 million in funding so far, not including an undisclosed 2019 seed round.

“Our association with BluSmart is one step ahead with government of India, that is currently looking to promote electric mobility as one of the key solutions to reduce carbon emission,” President and Co-founder, Venture Catalysts, Apoorv Ranjan Sharma said in the statement.

One study suggests that Indian consumers would prefer buying an electric vehicle by 2022, and that the electric vehicle market in India could be worth $2 billion by 2025, conditional on whether consumer preferences for price points, charge time and mileage are met.

The Indian government also launched the ‘Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles’ (FAME) scheme in 2015, with expenditures worth US$130 million aimed at subsidies for electric and hybrid vehicles. The second phase of FAME commenced in April 2019.

However, FAME II has failed to land as strongly as expected. Of the one million two-wheelers, 7,000 buses and 55,000 passenger cars expected to be covered, only 13,490 two-wheelers, 2,300 cars and 600 buses have actually received subsidies under the scheme.

Moreover, there were unconfirmed reports about the subcontinent aiming to become 100% electric vehicle-driven by 2030. However, a government spokesperson dismissed the estimates, noting that the approximate target closer to 30%.

Although no official numbers have been announced, a government report notes that the country could reach an electric vehicle market penetration of 30-80% by 2030, depending on the type of vehicle, if FAME II goes according to plan.

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