A Dive in India’s Automotive Start-up Ecosystem

 In Blog, Indian Market

India is the third largest startup ecosystem in the world which is growing rapidly. As per the statistics released by the government, in the year 2018, India had around 50,000 startups, and 20% of these were tech startups. In the year 2019, India saw 2-3 tech startups born every day! Bangalore, India’s startup capital, has been listed within the world’s 20 leading startup cities in the 2019 Startup Genome Project ranking. It is also ranked as one of the world’s fifth fastest growing startup cities. If we move from numbers to impact and magnitude, India is home to 21 unicorns.

Many startup initiatives of global repute, such as Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Program have shortlisted considerable of Indian startups for their fund.  More than 26 states in India have a separate policy to boost startups. In this article, we will be taking a closer look at automobile startup ecosystem in India. Among many auto-tech startups, we have highlighted a few startups that have already done commendable work in the automotive technology domain.

Well, India’s automotive startups story begins way before the word ‘startup’ was a buzzword. Reva Electric Car Company, started by Chetan Maini, a second generation entrepreneur was founded way back in 1994. This venture launched their first electric vehicle in 1996. In 2010, Reva group joined hands with Mahindra Group and was rebranded as Mahindra Reva electric Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. which now sells electric vehicles globally.

If one analyses the automotive tech startup spectrum in India, the breadth of focus is simply astonishing. India has startups working in ADAS and autonomous driving to electric vehicles and lithium-ion batteries!

Here are some startups along with their respective domains:

Vehicle Electrification:

Vecmocon Technologies : Vecmocon is a technology company engaged in the design and development of smart electric vehicles. They primarily develop power control technologies for EVs.

Ati Motors : Ati Motors is a startup which has developed an autonomous electric cargo vehicle which can operate in internal as well as external environments. Ati is globally the only company offering this kind of a product.

ION Energy : Founded in 2016, ION Energy provides an electric battery intelligence platform for B2B that blends advanced electronics, IoT, analytics and AI with deep domain expertise in energy storage.

Okinawa: Founded in 2015 by Jeetender Sharma, Okinawa Autotech manufactures and manages the distribution and sales of electric two-wheelers. The company claims to have over 40K customers and is doubling that tally in 2020.

PuREnergy: PuREnergy not only manufactures electric vehicles but also provides high-performance lithium battery packs for other businesses and vehicle segments.

SmartE: Based in Delhi NCR, SmartE provides electric mobility three-wheeler services with a focus on first and last-mile transportation.

Ather Energy : Manufacturer of smart electric scooters and bikes, Ather Energy is a fast growing EV startup in India which aims at having a strong presence in 40 cities in the country by the end of 2021.

Tork Motorcycles: Tork developed and manufactured India’s first electric performance motorcycle. The motorcycle can cruise comfortably at the speed of 100 kmph and comes with TFT screen and cloud connectivity.

 Ultra Violette :  Founded in 2016, Ultra Violette Automotive unveiled its high-performance electric motorcycle – the F77 in November 2019 and is now available for pre-orders.

 ADAS and Autonomous Driving:

Playment:  Playment provides a managed data labelling platform which generates training data sets for computer vision models. With the help of this platform, testing and development of autonomous technologies can be accelerated significantly.

Flux Auto : Flux Auto is a startup developing self-driving technology for commercial vehicles. While the company website does not reveal much information, their technology has already been put in form of a prototype and is undergoing road tests.

Quixote : Quixote provides a tech-based solution for car safety, vehicle tracking, ADAS, etc. These solutions can be used for autonomous and connected vehicles and can be used by insurance providers, fleet owners etc.

Giscle systems: Giscle Systems is working on developing autonomous driving kits for self-driving cars. The company claims to be using machine learning and artificial intelligence to create AI-based software and hardware (perception, planning, and navigation) kit for starting with level 5 autonomy.

 Connected Vehicles and Telematics

India has more than 130 startups working on connected vehicles technologies and telematics. Some of these startups are:

Get Zyme: Get Zyme provides connected utilities which can be retrofitted on any vehicle. They have offerings for air quality monitoring, heads up display, engine diagnosis, trip syncing with server etc.

Asset Trackr: This startup has a proven offering which allows fleet owners to manage a large number of fleets on the streets. The offering is essentially an IoT and GPS based tracker which is being used by many fleet owners in the country.

RevOS: RevOS provides an AI-enabled connected device for motorcycles. The device can track and control various inputs and outputs such as indicators, lights, lock control, etc. The device along with the app monitors the riding pattern and the bike’s health to provide users with feedback in real-time.

While the number of startups in India is blooming every passing day, the automotive giants are also taking interest in the startup space.

Driven by Maruti Suzuki, India’s No. 1 Automobile Brand and powered by most prominent Indo-Japanese seed fund and co-creation center, GHV Accelerator, MAIL or Mobility & Automobile Innovation Lab, is an initiative to find technology driven, innovative and cutting-edge digital solutions in the mobility & automobile space, which are futuristic and customer-oriented. The startups that get selected in the program are privy to a host of benefits and have the opportunity to work on a paid project with Maruti Suzuki, and the possibility of Going-to-Market together.

 Tata Motors’ AutoMobility Collaboration Network – TACNet is a collaboration platform by Tata Motors, country’s largest automobile company, to engage with the start-up community and technology companies to spark innovative solutions in the automotive technologies and mobility ecosystem.

Quite a few major automakers have acquired stakes in some of the startups mentioned above. MG Motors conducted a thorough screening program and signed up with six startups under its grants program.

Hero Motocorp, the globally leading two-wheeler maker from India has over 34 % stake in the electric 2-wheeler start up Ather Energy, where they have been investing steadily over the last 5 years.

The automotive startup ecosystem in India is dynamic and fast evolving. To know more, contact me at sudhir.nerurkar@quanzen.com

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