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Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal doubles down on Ather Energy
Sachin Bansal

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, who had made an angel investment of $500,000 in Ather Energy Pvt. Ltd five years ago, is betting more money on the electric-scooter maker.

Ather Energy has raised $51 million (around Rs 354 crore) in its latest funding round led by Bansal, who alone brought $32 million, it said in a statement.

Hero MotoCorp Ltd, which had invested $19 million in Ather Energy in the form of compulsorily convertible debentures last year, has converted the debt into equity as part of this round.

In addition, venture debt firm InnoVen Capital, which received $200 million more from shareholders Temasek Holdings and United Overseas Bank Ltd earlier this year, is providing $8 million to Ather Energy.

Ather Energy, which was founded in 2013 by IIT graduates Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, is on an aggressive expansion drive. It aims to be present in 30 cities by 2023 and is planning a new manufacturing unit to produce 1 million electric scooters annually, the statement said. The company will also install 6,500 Ather Grid fast-charging points across the country over the next five years with an estimated investment of Rs 130 crore.

Ather Grid has 31 fast-charging points in Bengaluru and seven in Chennai.

Ather Energy's flagship product, Ather 450, started deliveries from September last year after opening for pre-orders in June.  

The company had initially aimed to launch the electric scooters in 2016 but faced delays because product testing took longer than anticipated. Before Hero MotoCorp, it had secured about Rs 75 crore ($12 million) in funding from US-based investor Tiger Global in early 2015.

"Watching Ather closely since my early investment in 2014, I am convinced that the ecosystem that Ather is building with their products is the future of urban mobility," said Bansal. "Their focus on end to end customer experience will open up new revenue opportunities and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in India," he added.

Bansal's bets

Bansal has remained an active investor after he quit Flipkart last year following the e-commerce major's acquisition by Walmart.

In February, Bansal invested Rs 650 crore ($92 million) in cab-hailing app Ola. 

Last month, Bansal--via his BAC Acquisitions--invested in Gurugram-based micro-delivery grocery startup Milkbasket.

He had co-founded BAC Acquisitions in December 2018 with his IIT-Delhi batchmate and former investment banker Ankit Agarwal.

In March, BAC Acquisitions invested in Bounce, a scooter and bicycle rental platform.

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