One of our big learnings over the last three years has been that at Ather we are not just building the S340 but we are participating in the growth of an entire new industry with completely new technology, new platforms and with a very different vendor and re-fueling infrastructure. A vision like that needs work on not just a product but the entire eco-system. We have to build not just for one product launch but for scale and long-term sustainability. Accordingly, we have always been cognizant about our capital requirements and have been lucky in the past to have had phenomenal investors like Tiger Global and Sachin and Binny Bansal.
Today we are happy to announce our latest round of fund-raising. This is what is known in the industry as a 'Series B' round of financing. In this round we have raised $27M to continue our engineering and production work for the S340 and our efforts with an ubiquitous charging infrastructure. However, what's interesting about this round was that the primary investor in this round was Hero MotoCorp.
Yes, the largest 2W company in the world and one deeply invested in petrol vehicles. This is quite a departure from our previous investors list and in fact this is the first time our investor list includes an automobile veteran.
Hero understands where the future of vehicles is headed. And this change will be quite a rapid one which will change the landscape of this industry. One cannot sit on the side-lines. One cannot not participate. A company of their size cannot move like a start-up but as Rajat from their team often says, they can 'think like a start-up'. And in this case participate in the growth of one.
We are a young company. This has allowed us to rethink design, specs, our entire approach even. However the auto industry is highly evolved in many processes, quality systems and supply-chain management. With Hero as an investor on-board we hope to fast forward years of learning in those and grow rapidly.
Does this change anything? Does it mean we will change our strategy? Or distribution model? Should you expect a change in the product? Is this an acquisition?
No. Both Ather and Hero have different approaches and have chartered different paths. But more importantly the industry is just building up and we believe start-ups like ours will lead the change - we need to build a new narrative, a new story. Different from the one that the old world built up so admirably. Competing on parameters that the incumbents do not compete on. This new story deserves a new company.
One thing both of us believe very strongly is in sticking with our respective paths and staying with the vision. We started Ather with a vision to build India's largest EV company. This investment if anything only helps us accelerate that journey.
Exciting times ahead.
Tarun and Swapnil.