Entropy Innovations Pvt Ltd, an engineering startup that has developed an automatic bike cleaning machine and is looking to create a franchised service station, has raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from emerging markets investment guru Mark Mobius, ah! Ventures and investors from AdvantEdge Startup Incubator, it said on Wednesday.
Mobius, who is executive chairman of institutional investment firm Templeton Emerging Markets, has invested in his individual capacity. Templeton Emerging Markets is part of Franklin Templeton Investments. Currently, he directs the Templeton research team based in 18 global emerging markets offices.
Starting with a couple of retail touch-points in Mumbai under the name – The EBW Store – and a few installations at service centres, Entropy claims its automated bike washers have cleaned about 100,000 motorcycles over the last 18 months.
The Mumbai-based firm will use the money to increase its team size and focus on nationwide expansion for its Express Bike Wash brand, as per a press statement.
“A whopping 15 million new ones (bikes) were added nationally to the existing lot last year. A host of players offer wash-related products. However, there are barely any organised players for wash and related value-added services. Through ‘The EBW Store’, we wish to bridge this gap at an affordable price, faster service rate and with an ease of accessibility to the retail customers,” said Niraj Taksande, one of the co-founders.
Entropy was founded in early 2013, by IIT & IIM alumni Niraj Taksande, Raghvendra Bhushan Karn, Jigar Vora and Shyam Babu. It has developed a bike cleaning machine that cleans motorcycles within two-five minutes, it claims.
Taksande has worked as R&D manager in product design at Mexus Education before starting this venture. Karn has designed machine learning algorithms in computer vision and image processing as a R&D engineer with technology major ASUS in Taiwan.
Vora was an equity researcher with JP Morgan Chase while Babu has worked with KLA-Tencor, a US-based firm that manufactures inspection tools for microchip quality control.
Going ahead, the firm plans to create a branded chain of franchised bike service stations. It is eyeing as much as over 1,000 outlets in a year.
“Petrol pumps, malls, corporate parks and societies are the potential B2C target areas,” said co-founder Vora.
Citing a 2012 McKinsey report, the company claims the size of bike servicing business (excluding parts replacement) is pegged at around Rs 6,300 crore ($1 billion) per year. This, it claims, is equal to the size of cars and commercial vehicles servicing.
The company charges Rs 50-200 for bike washing and Rs 500 per bike for Teflon coating.
The deal was advised and syndicated by VC firm ah! Ventures and closed on its private investment platform, CLUBah.com.