This is one of the largest seed rounds for an Indian start-up and will see EVage complete its production-ready factory outside of Delhi in FY 2022-23 and to increase production.
Inderveer Singh, Founder and CEO of EVage Ventures, talks to TOI about the industry and the company’s strategy for the future. Excerpts:
Where will the funding be deployed specifically? What was the previous funding and where was it deployed?
We conceptualized EVage in 2014, and since then we have spent the past eight years gathering end/medium user insights in the EV business space to focus on innovations at all levels to deliver a great product on the road.
Over the years we have tested over five prototypes with hundreds of thousands of miles on the road with our potential customers.
Our previous funding came from friends and family to help us reach this milestone. This current Red Blue Capital seed investment of $28 million will be deployed to complete our production-ready plant and build our supply chain to fuel the immense industry demand in this space.
Nothing excites us more than the idea of advancing mobility, and this investment will help us along this journey.
What’s the point of operating in stealth mode for eight years given that’s quite a long time for a tech company? How has this helped you?
When we started in 2014, the ecosystem for electric vehicles was underdeveloped. It required us to work from scratch to enable the delivery of a great product.
Designing and manufacturing a 4W EV is complex, and we wanted to focus on getting the perfect product and technology into the hands of our customers. We have spent considerable time understanding the challenges of last/mid mile delivery in the FMCG, e-commerce and logistics industry, because only then would we be able to offer a carefully designed product.
The first three to four years of our journey were focused on setting up the technology, while the last few years were spent adapting the product to the market, testing and continuously gathering information on the users.
This included over 100 discussions we had with delivery drivers to understand the on-the-ground challenges they face. We wanted to ensure a deep understanding of challenges across the entire EV business ecosystem to enable us to reimagine and transform every element of the vehicle.
We built our product from the ground up and are one of the only commercial EV OEMs to have a chassis vehicle on the road.
What is the primary market focus for EVage products? Who will you be competing against?
With the rapid rise of e-commerce, the mid and last mile commercial delivery space has grown rapidly. It has also created challenges enhanced by urbanization, increasing pollution and leading to unsustainable life cycles.
We wanted to create net positive change through people, products and the environment, and so at EVage our main focus has been to bring efficient mobility and impact lives.
We focus on emerging markets, starting with India. The challenges in these markets are different, and we have focused on understanding the challenges in the middle/last mile of the value chain, including delivery personnel making over 100 deliveries per day. It was therefore important for us to have the correct ergonomics, size, functionality and other aspects, in line with Indian conditions.
The demand in this space is immense, and for us, we are happy to see more and more companies entering. Our goal is to deliver great mobility solutions, not the competition, but we look at global benchmarks and the evolution of the global last and mid-mile delivery space.
What kind of backlog do you have and when can you fill it?
Nationally, the market for small commercial vehicles is nearly 500,000+ per year with thousands of vehicles replenished every year. This market continues to grow and has an immense demand in the market. We are getting a great response from major global potential customers who test our vehicles on the road.
Where is the factory located and its capacity?
Our first modular manufacturing micro-factory is located in Punjab. We will reveal the facility soon and can give more specific details on the capacity then. As the name suggests, we have created modularity in our manufacturing process, and our manufacturing micro-factory can be set up on multiple sites.