IIT Madras-incubated electric vehicles (EV) startup Grinntech has raised $2 Mn (nearly $15 Cr) funding from a clutch of investors, including venture capitalist V Sumantran, who was ex vice president at Ashok Leyland, Cognizant CEO Lakshmi Narayan, NAPC’s KS Manian, and a member of the UCAL family.
Grinntech plans to use the funding to set up a lithium-ion manufacturing unit in Chennai and work with EV makers to expand their business opportunities. The company already has a R&D and manufacturing unit in Chennai, but wants to explore options for a larger manufacturing location to scale up their production.
The development comes as Grinntech launched a new range of lithium-ion batteries. These four high-tech lithium-ion batteries can be customised to Indian conditions. The batteries come with proprietary, IoT-enabled Building Management System (BMS) to power two-wheelers, three-wheelers and tractors and light vehicles. Grinntech will initially be targeting auto original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and EV fleet customers to sell the new range of batteries.
“The founders, the teams assembled and the advisors for consulting are highly innovative and technology-driven to come out with innovative solutions like the new batteries they have just launched. It’s a complex technology, but the two founders made it simpler with their full commitment to the development of this technology after their graduation,” Narayanan said.
Grinntech was founded in 2013 by Nikhilesh Mishra and Puneet Jain. Mishra serves as CEO of the company, while Jain is the chief operating officer (COO). The company is now graduating from an IIT-Madras-incubated startup to a funded commercial enterprise to tap opportunities arising out of the rapid adoption of EVs.
“Grinntech works on a core objective of achieving self-reliance in EV technologies. Since we have an edge over China in software and technology, there will be opportunities for Grinntech to serve Western markets besides meeting domestic needs,” the company said.
According to a World Economic Forum report, in collaboration with Ola Mobility Institute, India has the potential to become the largest EV market in the world due to the policies and incentives several state governments are providing.
“The role of government is crucial for accelerating adoption. Right now, the uptake of electric vehicles is slow due to the high upfront cost and range anxiety, but a long-term investment in research and development (R&D) will create sustained growth,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of Mobility, World Economic Forum.
According to Inc42+ estimates, the total investments in EV focused startups surged 3.2x in 2019 to $394 Mn, compared to $123 Mn in 2018. Despite favourable market conditions and increased investor confidence, the infrastructure to support electric vehicles in the country still remains the biggest challenge in India, and that’s why despite the push from investors and the government, market adoption of EVs is a big hurdle.