Flipkart founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal have invested USD 1 million in Chennai-based electric vehicle startup Ather, that is focused on designing high-speed electric two-wheelers for the Indian market. This round also includes an additional INR 25 lakh investment from a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Medall Healthcare Pvt. Ltd Raju Venkatraman.
Ather was started by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain in 2013, with an aim to develop technology to manufacture electric vehicles and currently engaged in full-vehicle design and testing. As per Business Line report, the new funds will primarily be used to develop the entire vehicle by the team of 15 engineers and designers at Ather. “We used the first round of funding to develop the battery pack. We will use this fresh round of funding to develop the charger, Android dashboard, battery management system and the entire mechanical systems of the vehicle,” said Mehta.
The firm had also received USD 100K in February this year from V Srinivas (founder, Aerospike) and the Technology Development Board. It is also planning to extend its team up to 30 people over the next 12 months.
Last month, Flipkart founders had also invested USD 1 million in a Bangalore based offline games startup, MadRat Games. And, this is the second USD 1 million investment made by the Bansals over the last 10 days.
It looks like the Flipkart Bansal duo is exploring avenues beyond e-commerce. These startups could potentially create products for Flipkart to sell down the line. The company is already selling its in-house branded products under the brands Flippd, Digiflip etc. if it is following Amazon’s footsteps of manufacturing high end devices and gadgets on its own, then such investments and even acquisitions in tech startups could prove to be fruitful in the long run.