Hero group promoter, Micromax co-founder, others back electric cab-hailing platform Blu Smart
Ahmedabad- and Gurugram-based Blu Smart, which operates intra-city electric cab aggregation platform, has raised $2.2 million in its angel round, also its first external funding infusion.
The funding was led by Mumbai-based JITO Angel Network. Munjal Family Office, the personal investment vehicle of Hero group promoter Suman Kant Munjal, US-based Mayfield, financial services firm Centrum’s Kalpavriksh PE Fund, Micromax co-founder Rajesh Agarwal and Sanjiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Capital also participated in the funding round, the company said in a statement.
The new capital will be used for geographical expansion. Currently, the company operates only in Delhi NCR region.
“With e-vehicles set to become the way we commute over the next few decades, the startup is working to build a holistic smart electric on-demand mobility platform covering the entire value chain of smart mobility, smart charging and smart parking,” JITO Angel Network said.
Blu Smart Mobility Tech, which operates the venture, was launched in 2018 by Anmol Jaggi and Punit Jaggi (brothers) along with Punit Goyal.
The one-year-old startup began services through a partnership with automobile major Mahindra & Mahindra, which provided 70 units of the electric variant of its sedan Verito. By April 2020, the company plans to add 500 more e-Veritos to its fleet network.
Users can book cabs, taxis for intra-city travel through a mobile app like Uber or Ola with the only difference being the fleet consists of entirely electric vehicles. Besides its cab services, its other offerings include ride sharing, car sharing and shared charging.
The company claims the math behind fuel costs of an electric cab works out better: Rs 1.25 per kilometre as against diesel and petrol cars, which cost Rs 6-6.6.5 per kilometre.
Recent activity in the electric vehicle space
The budget for 2019-20 announced a few initiatives that have come as a shot in the arm for the electric vehicle sector.
Some of the announcements include plans to reduce the goods and services tax (GST) on EVs, Rs 10,000 crore allocation for the fast adoption and manufacturing of electric vehicles as well as an income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on interest paid on loans taken to buy electric vehicles.
Consequently, the developments have also had a cascading effect in the form of a few funding announcements in this sector.
Last month, Ola Electric Mobility, the EV arm of cab-hailing major Ola, raised $250 million from SoftBank. It primarily focuses on deploying charging and battery-swapping networks for the commercial electric vehicles segment.
Dockless scooter and bicycle sharing platform Bounce is preparing for a big push into the electric vehicles (EV) market. The company’s EV subsidiary, Zuink, is in talks to raise up to $50 million from new and existing investors.
Ride-hailing major Uber announced a partnership with energy infrastructure and services provider SUN Mobility to deploy e-three wheelers in India.
New Delhi-based Trade Mark of Treasure Vase Venture, which runs electric vehicle startup SmartE, raised Series B funding of $15 million from Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co.