The funding round also saw participation from existing investors Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, Maniv Mobility, and Trucks VC
River said it will use the fresh funds to bolster its growth, priming its manufacturing and distribution networks to kick-off vehicle delivery in August this year
The Bengaluru-based startup launched its first electric two-wheeler model, Indie, in February this year
Two-wheeler electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer River on Tuesday (June 6) said it has raised a funding of $15 Mn (about INR 124 Cr) in a round led by Dubai’s Al Futtaim Group. Existing investors Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, Maniv Mobility, and Trucks VC also participated in the round.
In a statement, the Bengaluru-based startup said it will use the fresh funds to bolster its growth, priming its manufacturing and distribution networks to kick-off vehicle delivery in August this year. River is Toyota Ventures’ first investment in India.
The development comes months after River launched its first electric two-wheeler model, Indie, in February to take on the likes of Ola Electric, Ather Energy, and other leading escooter players. During the launch, Aravind Mani, cofounder and CEO of River, told Inc42 that the startup was on track to raise the next round of funding soon to develop its go-to-market strategy.
Before the latest funding round, River had raised $13 Mn across two rounds. It raised a $2 Mn seed funding round in March 2021 and a $11 Mn Series A round in July last year.
“At River, we’ve been quietly working in the background for the last two years. In just 20 months, we launched our first product, the Indie, which has by now successfully covered 100,000+ kilometres in testing,” said Mani. “Now we’ve set the base to build a billion-dollar business.”
River’s Indie escooter is equipped with a motor with a peak power of 6.7 kW, which can reach a top speed of 90 km per hour. Its current model is priced at INR 1.25 Lakh (ex-showroom Bengaluru), has a 4 kWh battery, and provides a range of 120 km.
“We evaluated over 50 electric two-wheeler startups, and are impressed by the team’s vision and relentless commitment to in-house product development. I am confident that their products will see great success, in India and internationally,” said Paul Willis, president of Al Futtaim Automotive.
It must be noted that River plans to start the deliveries of its escooter at a time when the allegations of misappropriation of FAME-II subsidies against some of the OEMs and the cut in per vehicle subsidy has impacted the sales of electric two-wheelers. Following the government’s decision to cut the subsidy, several manufacturers, including Ola, Ather, Matter, and AMO Mobility, have raised the prices of their vehicles.
As per River’s website, the startup will announce the new price for its escooter after June 30.
Despite the challenges, investors remain highly bullish on the overall Indian EV ecosystem and the growing number of investments in the segment is a proof of it.
In March, Goa-based electric mobility startup Kabira Mobility raised $50 Mn in its Series A funding round from Qatar’s Al-Abdulla Group. Bhavish Aggarwal’s Ola Electric also reportedly raised $300 Mn last month.
Amid all this, the electric two-wheeler registrations in the country crossed the 1 Lakh mark in May 2023.
However, the investor interest in the segment is not limited to the two-wheeler category as startups working in electric three-wheeler category and enabling adoption of EVs have also been getting investments.
Recently, EV battery manufacturer EMO Energy raised $1.2 Mn in a seed round led by Transition VC, and co-led by Gruhas. In the electric three-wheeler category, Altigreen Propulsion Labs is also looking to raise around $85 Mn (INR 700 Cr) in its upcoming round.