Sutures founder’s family office invests in bike rental firm WickedRide

The family investment office of Sutures India chairman Chandrasekhar Gopalan has invested $1.5 million (Rs 10 crore) in Bengaluru-headquartered online premium bike rental platform WickedRide, two persons familiar with the development told TechCircle.

The company raised the funding in November last year, one of the persons mentioned above said. WickedRide is likely to have been valued at Rs 65-70 crore (around $10-10.8 million) post money, the person said.

The firm is in the midst of closing another $10 million as part of a fresh funding round from Sequoia Capital and Accel, the second person said.

“The company is in a fairly advanced stage of closing this round and has already received a close to $10 million term sheet from Sequoia and Accel. The formal closure is expected within a couple of months,” the second person said.

E-mail queries sent to Geetham Shares and Securities Pvt. Ltd, the family office of Gopalan, and Vivekananda Hallekere, co-founder of WickedRide, did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

E-mail queries sent to Sequoia and Accel also did not elicit any response. Earlier this month, The Economic Times reported that Sequoia and Accel were likely to lead a $10 million Series-A round into the four-year-old company.

In 2015, the company had raised about $80,000 (Rs 51.8 lakh) from Shanghai-based trading services firm Quettra Resources Inc, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle.

Wickedride Adventure Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates WickedRide, was started in 2014 by Hallekere along with Varun Agni and Anil G. The four-year-old venture operates an online premium motorbike rental platform where users can rent from a fleet including brands such as Harley Davidson, Benelli, Royal Enfield, Kawasaki, Triumph, Ducati, KTM and Americana.

Users can rent the bike on an hourly, weekly and monthly basis. The service is available across more than 10 locations including Bengaluru, Mysore, Jaipur, Manipal, Ahmedabad, Gokarna and even New Zealand, according to WickedRide’s website.

In 2016, Uber had partnered with WickedRides to offer premium motorcycle ride services, as part of its ‘Uber Moto’ offering which was later shuttered down as it was found to be in violation of regulations.

While WickedRide’s focus is on the premium segment, the Metro Bikes arm of the business offers motorbikes and scooters on rental, primarily for urban commutation. Users can avail the one-way rental service which allows them to pick up the bike from a designated location and drop it off in another one. This service is also available across more than 10 locations in India though it is not available in New Zealand.

“Metro Bikes is creating an infrastructure which enables urban commuters to pick up a scooter from anywhere and drop off at any public parking space. We have come up with in-house invention which enables keyless entry,” Hallekere stated in his LinkedIn account.

Recently, the firm launched its metrobike service in association with Bangalore Metro Rail across 33 metro stations in the city.

WickedRide’s online rental marketplace operates on a hybrid model where the company’s fleet includes own vehicles and those that are aggregated from individuals and motorcycle vendors.

A chartered accountant by qualification, Hallekere has previously served as finance professional in companies including KPMG. Co-founder Agni, who heads the firm’s product and technology division, had earlier worked as a network architect at South Africa-based information technology and services firm Dimension Data. Co-founder Anil, who heads operations and administration, is a cost accountant and a company secretary by qualification. He has previously worked with American Tower and Bharat Electronics.

A few ventures in the broader online transport rental space have raised funding in recent times.

Last month, Bengaluru-based self-riding bike rental company Ontrack raised an undisclosed amount of seed investment from Diverse Middle East FZE, a Dubai-based family office, and others.

In November last year, Mumbai-based Motocruizer Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, which operates self-riding bike rental platform ONN Bikes, raised Rs 4.5 crore ($692,000) in a pre-Series A round led by existing investor Z Nation Lab.

In September 2017, Vogo Automotive Pvt. Ltd, which runs online scooter rental startup Vogo, raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round led by AV Thomas Group chairman Ajit Thomas; Hari Thiagarajan, executive director at Thiagarajar Mills, and Muthu Murugappan, business head – nutraceuticals at EID Parry.

*This article has been updated to modify details about a company co-founder.

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