India’s sovereign wealth fund, NIIFL, Hero MotoCorp lead Series E funding. Ather Energy raises $128 million
Ather Energy has reported a strong start in 2022. In April 2022, the manufacturer reported its highest ever monthly sales having delivered 3,779 units. Simultaneously, bookings for Ather 450X have been growing 25 percent quarter-on-quarter.
Currently, the company’s retail sales network spans 32 cities with 38 Experience Centres. This will be expanded to 150 Experience Centres in 100 cities by 2023. And now the manufacturer boasts of yet another feather in its cap. It has bagged the first direct investment in the electric mobility manufacturing sector by the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
NIIFL, Hero MotoCorp – Ather investors
The Series E funding amounts to $128 million or Rs 991 crores. Investment agreements were signed with National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited’s (NIIFL) Strategic Opportunities Fund (SOF), Hero MotoCorp, a leading shareholder of Ather, and additional investors. The latest infusion of cash adds to the amount raised in earlier rounds of funding. To date, Ather Energy has raised over $230 million financing. Tiger Global and Flipkart cofounder, Sachin Bansal are investors.
In this round, Hero MotoCorp invested $56 mil, about Rs 420 crore. Most of the remaining amount is invested by NIIFL. Other existing investors, including angel founders further boosted the round with minor investments. To date Hero MotoCorp is the largest investor. Ather Energy plans to remain independent with investor goals aligned towards an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Electric two-wheeler segment
As has been previously stated by the company, funding is earmarked to attain certain time-bound goals. This includes expansion of its manufacturing facilities, research and development, charging infrastructure, and retail network growth. Ather also has plans to launch new electric scooters, based on their current 450 series.
Being NIIFL’s first direct investment in the manufacturing sector and in electric mobility bodes well. Both avenues have often been discussed and are key to ‘India’s green mission and decarbonisation goals’. NIIFL investment is a boost to the electric 2-wheeler sector in India. A segment in early stages development, and one with serious growth goals by the end of the decade.
The funding directly supports 1st-gen local entrepreneur-manufacturers. Ather has already proven its growth potential with a limited line of new products built with a high level of indigenisation. SOF has previously invested in Aseem Infrastructure Finance, NIIF IFL, and Manipal Hospitals.
Ather Energy capacity enhancement
Tarun Mehta, CEO, Ather Energy, said “The switch to electric is inevitable and FY 21-22 was the turning point for electric two-wheeler adoption in India. We are super excited to have NIIF come on board as an investor. They have been at the forefront of the country’s green transition through their investments and initiatives, and we look forward to our association.
We would also like to thank Hero MotoCorp, our long-term investor and strategic partner who continues to support our growth. The current round of investment will help us enhance capacities across the board, bring additional focus on new platforms, expand into new geographies, expand our fast-charging network and double down on the reputation we’ve built for making a product that’s high on quality.”