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Axis Bank Backs Everest Fleet With INR 100 Cr Loan To Accelerate Electric Mobility In India


Everest Fleet will utilise the funds to add more electric vehicles (EVs) to its fleet

Uber-backed Everest Fleet currently operates a fleet of 16,500 green fuel vehicles (15,000 CNG and 1,500 electric) across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Pune

The startup claimed to have achieved a revenue of INR 1,050 Cr in FY24

Axis Bank has extended a loan of INR 100 Cr ($12.1 Mn) to Everest Fleet for four years along with GuarantCo, a local-currency credit solution company, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) as its guarantor. 

Founded in 2016 by Siddharth Ladsariya, Everest Fleet will utilise the funds to add more electric vehicles (EVs) to its fleet. As a part of this transaction, GuarantCo has given its guarantee for two-thirds of the loan credited from Axis Bank to Everest Fleet.

Expressing his views on the partnership, Rajiv Anand, deputy managing director, Axis Bank said, “Axis Bank is committed to driving the e-mobility revolution in India. By collaborating with GuarantCo, we aim to empower companies that are working towards fostering sustainable transportation solutions to combat climate change.” 

He added that through this blended finance transaction, Axis Bank has supported a service model and mobilised development capital. 

“We are consistently striving not only to encourage communities to adopt electric vehicles, but also catalysing progress towards a greener, cleaner future for all, echoing our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Anand. 

Everest Fleet’s Growth Journey

Ladsariya launched Everest Fleet in Mumbai in October 2016 with a clear mission: To transform the transportation landscape. He began the fleet management startup with just two cars and has achieved tremendous growth since then.

Today, Everest Fleet is a critical vendor for Uber, providing essential transportation services through its vehicle fleet. Ladsariya stated that Everest Fleet, as Uber’s largest fleet partner in India and one of the top three globally, plays a vital role in ensuring reliable and efficient mobility solutions for Uber’s customers.

In June 2023, Uber invested $20 Mn in Everest Fleet to accelerate its transition from a CNG-dominated company to one with a mix of CNG and electric vehicles in the next five years. Everest Fleet aims to have 10,000 electric vehicles by 2026 as part of its overall fleet, Ladsariya added.

Currently, Everest Fleet operates a fleet of 16,500 green fuel vehicles (15,000 CNG and 1,500 electric) alongside 19 refrigerated vans for delivering perishable items across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune.

For FY24,  Ladsariya claimed his startup achieved a revenue of INR 1,050 Cr, close to a 2.25x increase from FY23’s INR 469 Cr in revenue. The company generates revenue by providing transportation services facilitated by aggregator platforms, earning compensation for each trip completed by its vehicle

Strategic Expansion Powers Growth

“From the outset, Everest Fleet prioritised unit economics, ensuring profitability from day one. Even as market dynamics shifted and incentives evolved, our robust operational model and economies of scale allowed for continued growth and resilience,” said Ladsariya.

However, for a mobility-focused startup, the pandemic-induced lockdown dealt a significant blow to the business model. Nevertheless, Everest Fleet adapted well to operate during the lockdown. It provided cars for employee transport and launched a microsite to facilitate point-to-point bookings for transporting essential personnel across the city.

This agility helped it stay on top of the challenges and navigate them effectively. As a result, the startup has been EBITDA positive for the past two years, its founder revealed.

How Axis Bank & GuarantCo Are Powering The EV Industry 

This is not the first time Axis Bank and GuarantCo have collaborated to disburse loans for India’s greener future. In December 2023, Axis Bank, in association with GuarantCo, provided a three-year loan of $30 Mn to Vivriti Capital, an enterprise-debt startup based in Chennai.

The purpose was to facilitate the expansion of Vivriti Capital’s portfolio by enabling it to provide loans to companies within the e-mobility sector in India. For this transaction, GuarantCo acted as a guarantor, offering a 50% on-demand credit guarantee to Axis Bank.

“We are delighted to have closed the transaction with Everest Fleet under the framework guarantee agreement signed with Axis Bank in May 2022. This is the second transaction closed under this agreement, following Vivriti Capital. It is expected to have a transformative market effect, and we hope it will help catalyse the deployment of more EVs by green ride-hailing companies in India,” said Layth Al-Falaki, CEO of GuarantCo.

Al-Falaki added, “We will continue to utilise the climate mitigation guarantee with Axis Bank to further develop the e-mobility ecosystem in India and deliver our climate action goals aligned with the PIDG 2030 strategy.” 

The loan is part of a framework guarantee agreement between GuarantCo and Axis Bank that was signed in May 2022. This agreement set aside $200 Mn to finance projects in India’s EV industry and accelerate the e-mobility ecosystem. 

GuarantCo first announced its intention to support climate action in India and Vietnam during COP 26 in Glasgow. This was also mentioned by the UK PM as part of the UK Clean and Green Initiative.

Can India Reach 30% EV Adoption Target?

Everest Fleet’s current operations involve a fleet of 16,500 CNG+EVs across India, with plans to scale this to 35,000 by 2026. Recognising the potential in both the startup and the EV sector, Axis Bank played a strategic role as it structured an alternative long-term financing solution specifically designed to help Everest Fleet achieve a six-fold increase in its EV fleet by 2026.

Specialised loans, as a form of alternative financing solutions, are crucial for the growth of EV startups. With the government aiming for 30% EV adoption by 2030, NBFCs and traditional banks are increasing their financial support in this sector.

The focus on a cleaner environment makes perfect sense when considering the projected growth of the EV market, which is expected to surge from $3.21 Bn in 2022 to $114 Bn by 2029, according to a Fortune Business Insights report.

The report further states that rising fuel prices in India are likely to drive demand for electric vehicles. Consumers are seeking alternatives with lower operating costs compared to traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Additionally, government initiatives to combat climate change, such as emission control regulations and mandatory scrapping of old vehicles, are incentivizing the adoption of EVs.

Axis Bank, one of the largest Indian private banks, reiterated its commitment to supporting new-age businesses. It offers a comprehensive suite of solutions, including private banking, investment banking for funding and regulatory guidance, traditional financing, API-backed cash management and digital partnerships.

Now, with the fresh funding, approximately 1,000 drivers are expected to benefit, said Ladsariya.”Everest Fleet draws inspiration from the unwavering commitment and instrumental support provided by GuarantCo. We would like to thank Axis Bank for their support in forming this long-term partnership with us, right from the ideation and structuring to executing the transaction on time. This transaction signifies a collective commitment to reducing emissions, fostering innovation, and pioneering positive change in the Indian mobility sector,” said Ladsariya.

“Furthermore, this move aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically SDG 11.2 (providing safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for everyone) as well as SDG 11.6 (reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities) and SDG 13 (take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts),” said Anand.

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