Electric vehicle startup Simple Energy is in talks to raise $15-20 million in its first institutional round that is likely to see participation from corporate venture capital firms and sovereign funds, two people privy to the matter said.
The round could see the Bengaluru-based company command upwards of soonicorn valuation, one of the persons said on condition of anonymity. A soonicorn is a privately held startup that has the potential to become a unicorn and is usually valued upwards of $500 million but less than the unicorn valuation of $1 billion.
Simple Energy declined to comment.
Meanwhile, the company recently raised over $20 million in a bridge funding round that saw participation from high-net-worth individuals such as Thyrocare Technologies’ founder Arokiaswamy Velumani, Gokaldas Group’s Ashwin Hinduja, Nash Industries’ owners Sanjay and Sandeep Wadhawa, and Purple Moon Ventures, among others. It also counts Sattva Group and Athiyas Group as investors. To date, it has raised $42 million.
Simple Energy plans to use the funds to boost production and start customer deliveries of its flagship product–the Simple One electric scooter. Deliveries of the two-wheeler have been delayed by more than a year as the company chose to add more safety features. The company recently opened its plant at Shoolagiri, Tamil Nadu, built with an initial investment of Rs 100 crore. “We have received over 100,000 bookings. We intend to roll out these 100,000 scooters in the next 12 months,” co-founder and chief executive Suhas Rajkumar said in an interview. He said the company has set a “conservative” revenue target of $150 million for FY24.
Founded by Rajkumar and Shreshth Mishra in 2018, Simple Energy competes with Ola Electric, Ather Energy, Okinawa Autotech, TVS and Hero Electric, among others, in India’s fast-growing electric two-wheeler market.
The company claims that it has developed the scooter’s surface and chassis designs as well as battery and motor research and development completely in-house. It primarily aims to offer a higher range per charge to alleviate range anxiety among users.
In addition to the Simple One electric scooter, the company has more products in the pipeline.
Investments in Indian EV startups have picked up pace in recent years, thanks to the growing demand for EVs and the need to reduce carbon emissions. Incentives by the Union and state governments for EV adoption have accelerated the growth of the industry.
VC and PE firms, and even traditional automakers have invested millions of dollars into EV startups developing new technologies and business models. These startups are working on various products, including batteries and charging infrastructure.
For instance, early this month, EV-as-a-service provider Zypp Electric raised Series B funding of $25 million (around Rs 206 crore) led by battery swapping systems provider Gogoro. Also, last month, EV infrastructure startup ElectricPe bagged $5 million from Green Frontier Capital, Blume Ventures, and Micelio Fund.