Electric taxi startup Blu Smart has raised $3 million (approximately Rs 21.22 crore at current exchange rates) in an angel funding round from several investors including Ka Enterprises LLP, the family office of actor Deepika Padukone.
Other investors who participated in the round include JITO Angel Network, Bajaj Capital managing director Sanjiv Bajaj and Rajat Gupta, the former managing director of management consultancy firm McKinsey, Blu Smart said in a statement.
The company said it is also in talks to raise $25 million (around Rs 177 crore) in a Series A round and has appointed Centrum Capital as the adviser for the planned funding.
Blue Smart, which is operated by Gensol Mobility Pvt. Ltd, was founded in October last year by Punit K Goyal, Puneet Singh Jaggi and Anmol Singh Jaggi. The startup says it is building an all-electric ecosystem by partnering with players across the ecosystem.
The company plans to bring on board 15,000 electric cars and 2,500 chargers on its ride-sharing platform by 2021.
Padukone’s office has invested in several startups of late across sectors. The moves mark the growing activity of family offices at large, as many high-profile and affluent individuals seek to take more control of their wealth management processes.
For example, in June, Padukone’s office was among a clutch of investors that funded a $3 million (around Rs 21 crore) pre-Series A round in Bellatrix Aerospace, an Indian Institute of Science-incubated space-technology startup.
Similarly, in May, the actor made an investment in Drums Food International Pvt. Ltd, which sells yoghurt under the Epigamia brand.
Apart from investor and corporate interest in the electric vehicle sector, the central government also announced initiatives aimed at promoting the segment to both companies and end-consumers.
In its July budget, the finance minister Nirmala sitharaman said it would provide an income-tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans taken to purchase electric vehicles as well as reduce Customs duty on certain parts.
In July, ride-hailing company Ola’s electric mobility arm had raised Rs 1,725 crore (around $250 million) from Japanese investor SoftBank in a Series B funding round, with the transaction valuing Ola Electric Mobility Pvt. Ltd at around $1 billion.