Flipkart co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal have invested $1 million in Ather, a start-up focused on designing high-speed electric two-wheelers, in their third investment since June. Serial entrepreneur and Medall Healthcare CEO Raju Venkatraman also participated in this round.
Incubated at the IIT Madras, Ather was launched in 2013 by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain.
According to Mehta, the fresh funds will be used for research and development of components like battery, charger and android dashboard.
While the company has already built prototypes of the vehicle, it will take another four months to offer test rides to the public. A full-fledged sale will commence in 12-14 months.
“Sachin and Binny Bansal’s focus on technology and reinvention aligns with that of the Team Ather. Electric vehicles are still at a very nascent stage in India and our aim is to develop and introduce efficient electric scooters which will benefit the country and help manage its resources more effectively,” Mehta said.
Ather raised their first round of capital, $100,000, in February this year from Aerospike founder V Srinivas and the Technology Development Board, government of India.
Incidentally, the Flipkart co-founders have been on an investment spree ever since the Flipkart’s acquisition of Myntra in May.
In June, Bansals, along with Saif Partners and other angel investors, participated in a $700,000 funding round for Touchtalent, a social networking site and platform for artists to sell their work.
A few weeks later, Binny Bansal invested in fashion-focused social network Roposo.
Bansals again invested in News in Shorts, which provides news in 60 words, in July. This was followed by an another investment in offline games start-up MadRat Games in November.
“We believe that the world is moving towards a smarter, more energy-efficient and environment-friendly approach in our daily lives. Growing Indian start-ups like Ather are using technology successfully to make a mark in this field,” Sachin and Binny Bansal said in a statement.
Incidentally, Bansals are not the only Indian e-commerce entrepreneurs to have turned angel investors. Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl has also invested in Delhi-based online chat platform Zumbl and taxi services company Ola, which recently raised a staggering $210 million from Japan’s SoftBank.