Ather Energy Success Story - Building the Connected and Electric Future Of Mobility

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand Anik Banerjee Anik Banerjee
Aug 3, 2022 15 min read
Ather Energy Success Story - Building the Connected and Electric Future Of Mobility

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Ather.

Fueling with electricity offers a whole lot of advantages that are clearly not available with conventional internal combustion engine vehicles that we have been using to date. Electric motors react quicker than the latter. They are very responsive and have impressive torque.

Besides, what's more, important is that the EVs follow the path of sustainable development because they are not driven by traditional fossil fuels like petrol, diesel, or LPG. Electric vehicles thus, significantly contribute towards reducing the emissions that lead to climate change and smog, thereby putting a stop to many other forms of ecological damages and man-made environmental disasters too.

Choosing electric vehicles for transport has been proven to improve public health and the environment. These are a few of the many reasons why electric vehicles are here to stay.

Among the most popular electric vehicle manufacturing companies is Ather. Ather is an Indian electric vehicle company founded by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain in 2013 goes by the name Ather Energy Pvt. Ltd. It currently manufactures the electric scooters, Ather 450X and the Ather 450 Plus, where it launched the all-new Ather 450X 2022 on July 19, 2022. Furthermore, it has also established the electric vehicle charging infrastructure, Ather Grid, and is one of the most prominent rivals of Ola Electric.

Here's the company profile of Ather Energy, Know all about its Owners, Funding and Investors, Business and Revenue Model, Growth, Challenges Faces, Name, Tagline, Logo and more.

Ather - Company Highlights

Startup Name Ather Energy
Headquarters Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Industry Automotive Electric vehicles
Founded 2013
Founders Tarun Mehta, Swapnil Jain
CEO Tarun Mehta
Area Served India
Total Funding $286.8 mn (May 2022)
Revenue $52.44 mn (Rs 413.9 crore in FY22)
Website www.atherenergy.com

Ather Energy - About and How it Works?
Ather Energy - Founders and Team
Ather Energy - Startup Story
Ather Energy - Name, Logo, and Tagline
Ather Energy - Mission
Ather Energy - Business Model
Ather Energy - Revenue and Growth
Ather Energy - Funding and Investors
Ather Energy - ESOPs
Ather Energy - Competitors
Ather Energy - Awards and Recognitions
Ather Energy - Challenges Faced
Ather Energy - Partnerships
Ather Energy - Future Plans

Ather Energy - About and How it Works?

Ather Energy is a startup focused on designing and selling premium electric two-wheelers for the Indian market. Ather wants to change the perspective about electric vehicles by building high-performance, zero-maintenance, and smart electric vehicles.

The company has manufactured two scooter models at present - 450 Plus and 450X. The 450X was upgraded, which helped Ather Energy launch 450X 2022 model on July 19, 2022. It has also established an electric vehicle charging network called AtherGrid.

It owns and operates its own experience centres (called AtherSpace) to give the customers a complete ownership experience. The company launched the Ather 450 back in September 2018 and released the Ather 450X all across the country on January 28, 2020. The new version of 450X, 450X 3 was launched on July 19, 2022. Β 

Though the sale of new Ather 450 scooters had been discontinued by the company since November 28, 2020, the company has pledged to fill up the gap with their 450X and 450 Plus models, where the latter will be launched soon.

Ather 450x is currently being delivered in 11+ Indian cities so far - Hyderabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kolkata, Coimbatore, Ahmedabad.

Ather Energy's customers believe that electric vehicles will shape urban commute in the years to come. They choose to own the experience of a vehicle that is built from scratch, offers an unparalleled ride, and is powered by intelligence.

Ather Energy - Founders and Team

The founders of Ather Energy are Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain. They founded Ather Energy in 2013.

Ather Energy Founders
Ather Energy Founders

Tarun Mehta

Tarun is the Co-founder and CEO of Ather. Mehta is an IIT Madras alumnus, who has completed a Dual Degree, Engineering Design, before starting as a Deputy Manager at Ashok Leyland. He eventually decided to found Ather. Mehta interned at Mercedes Benz and BHEL during his college days. Β 

Swapnil Jain

Swapnil Jail is the Co-founder at Ather. He is also an alumnus of IIT Madras and has completed his integrated Masters of Technology in Engineering Design. After completing a brief internship at General Motors and BHEL, Swapnil decided to found Ather with his college friend Tarun.

Ather currently operates with an employee strength of 500-1000. Β 

Ather Energy - Startup Story

Ather began its journey in October 2013 at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras Research Park. Mehta and co-founder Swapnil Jain both IIT-M alumni (BTech & MTech batch of 2012 in engineering design) had set out to build India’s first smart electric scooter. They had brief stints at Ashok Leyland and General Motors respectively.

Mehta recalls the support of R. Krishnakumar, a professor at the Department of Engineering Design at IIT-Madras. β€œIf a professor says, β€˜Leave your job and come back; we will take care of everything,’ I think that is a great morale boost,” says the Ather CEO.

β€œFor the first five-six months, we literally camped out of the department. We were just hanging around in his labs and other department labs before we sort of reached a conclusion that β€˜This seems interesting and we should actually start a company and build a product.’ It was a very important phase and he was super supportive then.”

In December 2014, Flipkart founders, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal invested $1 million as seed capital. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal expressed positive sentiment towards the company and showed an inclination towards energy-efficient vehicles.

In December 2019, Ather Energy signed an MoU with the Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a 400,000 sq. ft. manufacturing plant for electrical vehicles in Hosur. The invested amount will be around β‚Ή635 crores.

The company added two new products to its portfolio, the Ather 450X and the Ather 450 Plus in January 2020. The Ather 450X is a premium electric scooter built from the ground up by Ather. A step above the Ather 450 both in features and performance, the Ather 450X has been meticulously designed to redefine the two-wheeler riding experience in India.

Ather Energy - Name, Logo, and Tagline

Ather Logo
Ather Energy Logo

The logo of Ather Energy represents, Every electrical circuit is different, but the two things that remain constant are- the start- represented by the line and the stop- represented by the dot, in the circuit. This was much like Ather's long-term goal of building a company that fundamentally believes in using runnable electric energy as the future of innovation.

Ather's tagline goes: "All Brain. All Power. All Electric."

Ather Energy - Mission

Ather's mission statement says, "At Ather, we want to build the future of mobility – one that is connected and electric. We truly believe electricity is inevitable, there’s never been a better time. Intelligent vehicles are revolutionizing our commute experience, and the Ather 450 and 450X are at the cusp of this exciting reality. We are also in the midst of exploring the energy chain, including storing and distribution domains."


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Ather Energy - Business Model

The company has announced an online-only purchase model for selling the product with doorstep service. It had set up its manufacturing unit in Whitefield, Bangalore which commenced production in 2018 with a capacity of 600 vehicles per week. The company has disclosed the price of the Ather 450 to be β‚Ή1,35,000 and the price of Ather 450X is β‚Ή1,38,006.

It also establishes Ather Grid, an electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the cities it is present. The company has set up over 38 fast charging points in Bengaluru and 14 charging points in Chennai, as of July 2020.

Ather Grid
Ather Grid

Ather will be setting up its new 400,000 sq ft. facility in Hosur, Tamil Nadu by the end of 2022. The new facility will be designed to produce 100,000 units annually and is scalable to half a million units.


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Ather Energy - Revenue and Growth

Ather Energy has been announced as the fourth largest selling two-wheeler EV in India in the first half of 2021, where the company has successfully sold 3677 units. Though the valuation of Ather is yet to touch $1 bn, the company is witnessing good growth really, which is currently operating with 38 experience centres across 32 cities in India. The company further hopes to take the number of experience centres to 150 across 100 Indian cities by 2023.

Ather has claimed that it has witnessed a whopping 800% growth in sales in 2021. The demand for Ather scooters are growing, and Ather is standing fit to deliver it now, revealed Swapnil Jain, Co-founder and CTO of Ather. However, it's true that though Ather has witnessed a surge in its demand, it has failed to match the sales figures of its chief rival Ola Electric. Β  Β 

Ather Energy Launched the 2022 450X 3 Electric Scooter

Ather 2022 450X Gen 3
Ather 2022 450X Gen 3

Ather launched the 2022 450X Gen 3 scooter on July 19, 2022. Here are some of the advantages of the Ather 2022 450X 3 scooters at a glance:

  • These scooters will be equipped with bigger 3.7 kWh units instead of the earlier 2.6 kWh units
  • The batteries will be 25% larger than those of the previous generation scooters
  • These scooters boast of an ARAI-certified range of 146 kms and a TrueRangeTM of 105 kms.
  • They will also have wider rear tyres
  • The grips of the new generation Ather 450X will be 22% better than the previous generation scooter models.
  • They will offer the all-new Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • They are also built with a 7 inch built-in display with 2GB integrated RAM
  • They will be fitted with the newly designed rear view mirrors, offering 2X better visibility and 5X reliability
  • They will further have a new side-step made of single-cast aluminium Β 

Ather Sales

Ather Energy scooters have seen a month-on-month growth in its vehicle registrations for some months. However, the month of July was an exception where the company witnessed a drop of 66%. It registered just 1,283 units in July in contrast to May and June 2022, when Ather successfully registered 3338 and 3829 units respectively.

Ather Vehicle Registrations
Ather Vehicle Registrations

Ather Financials

Revenue

Ather registered annual revenue of Rs 79.8 crore in FY21, which was a significant increase from Rs 48.8 crore in FY20. This revenue witnessed a whopping 411.9% rise to become Rs 408.5 crore in FY22. 98% of the Ather operating revenue consists of the sale of its electric scooters. The total revenue of Ather was Rs 11.7 crore in FY19. The Hero MotoCorp-backed startup recorded over 8x growth in its operating revenue from Rs 4.2 crore in 2019 to Rs 35.3 crore in the year ended March 30, 2020.

There has also been a significant rise in the collections from the after-sales service vertical, which marked a 433.34% raise to Rs 1.6 crore during the FY20-FY21, which again increased by 81.3% to become Rs 2.9 crore in FY22. Interest income from fixed and current deposits shrank though, thereby pushing the total income of Ather to Rs 413.9 crore in FY22.

Tarun Mehta (Ather CEO) said that the company is currently generating revenues of Rs 100 crore a month and is hopeful of doubling the numbers in FY23. Like many late-stage companies, Ather also has plans to go public but the estimated time is still not disclosed.

Ather Energy Expenses

The expenses of Ather increased by 19% from Rs 268.7 crore in FY20 to become Rs 319.5 crore in FY21. The total expenses of Ather Energy witnessed a 2.3X rise to become Rs 758 crore in FY22. Ather Energy recorded its total expenses at Rs 119.2 crore in FY19.

The largest cost centre of the company is the costs incurred from the procurement of the raw materials for its scooters, then came the employee benefits cost.

The annual loss of Ather Energy recorded a 6% increase, which became Rs 233.3 crore in FY21 from Rs 219.9 crore that it lost in FY20. The startup lost Rs 344.1 crore in FY22, which ballooned by 1.4X.

Ather Energy's losses were recorded at Rs 107.5 crore in FY19.

The Sachin Bansal-backed company spent Rs 4 to earn a single rupee of operating revenue during FY21, going by the unit economics. This improved distinctively to become Rs 1.86, which is spent to earn a single rupee of revenue in FY22. The EBITDA margins of Ather drastically improved from -350.8% to become -197.1% in FY21. This improved again to be -61.83%.

Ather Financials YOY FY19-FY22
Ather Financials YOY FY19-FY22

Ather Energy - Funding and Investors

Ather Energy has raised a total of $286.8 mn in funding over 9 rounds. The latest funding of $128 mn, which came in on May 12, 2022, was led by NIIF Ltd. and Hero MotoCorp. It previously raised $56.46 mn from Hero MotoCorp on January 14, 2022. Ather Energy has also raised Rs 130 crores ($17.24M) prior to that, from Hero MotoCorp. With all this funding, Ather's valuation is still shy of $1 bn.

The company raised Rs 84 crore from Hero MotoCorp in July 2020, which increased the auto giant's stake in Ather to 34.58%. Hero MotoCorp currently holds over 34.8% of the stakes in Ather.

Ather Energy is currently funded by 5 main investors. Before the Serie E round, 34.8% stakes in Ather were held by Hero MotoCorp.

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
May 12, 2022 Series E $128M NIIF Ltd. and Hero MotoCorp
January 15, 2022 - $56.46M Hero MotoCorp
October 10, 2021 Series E $17.24M Hero MotoCorp Ltd.
November 7, 2020 Series D $35M Sachin Bansal
Jul 24, 2020 Series C $11.2M Hero MotoCorp Ltd
May 28, 2019 Series C $51M Sachin Bansal
Oct 27, 2016 Series B $27M Hero MotoCorp Ltd
May 29, 2015 Series A $12M Tiger Global Management
Dec 3, 2014 Seed Round $1M -

Ather Energy - ESOPs

Ather Energy has proposed to increase its ESOP pool size. The quantum of the existing Ather Energy ESOP Plan 2021 will reportedly increase by 7,808 stock options, which will increase the ESOP pool size from 37,209 options to 45,017 options, as per regulatory filings.

The Ather board has also approved the adoption of the founders’ stock option plan 2022. The pool size, as per the agreement of the Series D shareholders, was 12,356 stock options. This is further reduced to 5,214 stock options, and the balance unused pool of 7,142 is proposed for cancellation, as per a separate filing by the company.

The founder's stock options of Ather have been accessed for the first time, which is estimated to be worth around Rs 25 crore.

Ather Energy - Competitors

The top 10 competitors in Ather Energy's competitive set are:

  • Ola Electric
  • GoGreenBOV
  • Ampere
  • Okinawa Scooters
  • AVERA
  • Bajaj Auto
  • Hero MotoCorp
  • TVS
  • Pure EV
  • Tork Motors Pvt

Ather Energy - Awards and Recognitions

To sum up, some of the prominent awards and recognitions that Ather received would be:

  • The Economic Times Start-up Awards, The Economic Times, 2016
  • Most Promising Startup Impacting Automotive, IoT Next, 2016
  • India Electric Mobility Technology Innovation Leadership Award, Frost & Sullivan, 2016

Ather Energy - Challenges Faced

β€œThe biggest challenge and opportunity when you are building an electric vehicle in India is that there is no local ecosystem and that includes not just vendors but also talent among other things. We completely missed out on this when we started the company and that’s why our timelines started looking different. The amount of money started looking very different as we got more and more into it,” says Tarun Mehta, CEO of Ather Energy.

Being a hardware startup, Ather has seen its challenges where Tarun Mehta has pointed out that in the case of Ather, they "can't ship a minimum viable product." "With hardware, you can't 'move fast and break things", added Mehta. This impeded the growth and delivery of Ather hugely but the promising EV startup is finding ways to improve the delivery process and fasten the growth of the company.

Mehta also stated that for the EVs, "there's no ecosystem in place in India", which might have distributed the workload. Ather Energy CEO further added that the company is the sole manufacturer and distributor of the scooter, its batteries and other accessories, and therefore, it is vital that it tests all of them thoroughly.

Another challenge for the scooters is that there isn't a promising culture of designing and developing products locally. "Finding the right talent to work at Ather has been challenging," Ather CEO said. Β 

Ather ebike fire accident

Ather reported a fire accident in one of its Chennai showrooms on May 27, 2022, which is the first fire accident that the bike manufacturers witnessed in their EVs. The company, within a few hours of the accident, confirmed via its official Twitter handle that the accident occurred in one of its damaged vehicles on water entering through the cracks of its battery pack.

Ather Energy - Partnerships

The company has partnered with like-minded organizations to "accelerate the adoption of electric mobility for a sustainable future," says the Ather website. Some of the other popular partners of Ather Energy are WeWork and Altair. Here are some other partnership highlights of the company:

  • BLive has become a strategic partner of Ather to promote EV adoption at tourist destinations on August 24, 2021
  • Ather Energy was announced as the official partner of Kerala Blasters in October 2021

Ather Energy - Future Plans

According to Mehta, the big challenge that now lay ahead of them was how to not make Ather feel like a boring automotive company keeping the culture and excitement alive while still bringing in the rigours and discipline that they need to get a world-class hardware product out.

With the factory plant in Whitefield, Bengaluru, the company is ready to begin production and the orders coming in. Ather is getting ready with the first lot of production.

β€œThe first lot planned is for 2,000 vehicles and over a year’s time, the production planned is 10,000 vehicles. Based on the supply chain constraints, we will have to decide the batch size of production,” says Jain, adding next will be ramp up both in sales and the product map. β€œWhen you do a new product, it is not very easy to assemble… manufacturing challenges will pop up. So, we will improve product from that perspective to be able to ramp up really fast.”

The team has begun work on developing a new vehicle platform that it says will be more scalable. It is slated to be ready soon. He won’t part with much financial detail, but according to Mehta, the 50,000 units sales mark is when calculated on a per-unit basis, the company ought to be able to break even. The challenge for electric two-wheeler companies, though, will be to attract new customers.

Tarun Mehta, CEO of Ather Energy is looking to increase the capacity of the company to manufacture 35,000 scooters by this year from the present mark of 10,000 and aims to further hit the capacity of 1 million by next year. Β 

Ather stands big and tall in the growing space with a DNA going back to research labs, a design built from scratch, and a product that can be traced to custom spec sheets. Will that give it customers and success as a scooter company? Time will tell. But its journey this long is all about learnings, sucker punches, small wins, big bets, uncharted paths, and an early positioning in a market that holds promise.


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FAQs

What is Ather Energy?

Ather Energy is a startup focused on designing and selling premium electric two-wheeler vehicles for the Indian market. It is one of the best electric scooter startups in India. The company has offered two electric scooters for the Indian market, Ather 450 and 450X.

Who is the owner of Ather Energy?

Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain founded the Indian electric vehicle company Ather Energy in 2013.

What is the price of Ather 450X in India?

The price of Ather 450X starts from Rs.1.18 Lakh and goes upto Rs.1.38 Lakh. Ather 450X is one of the two products offered by Ather energy.

Is Ather an Indian company?

Yes, India is the country of origin of Ather Energy. The electric vehicle company was founded by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain in 2013.

What is the headquarters location of Ather Energy?

Ather Energy is an Indian electric vehicle company headquartered in Bangalore.

What is the Ather Energy website?

The Ather Energy website is www.atherenergy.com

Which companies do Ather compete with?

The top 10 competitors of Ather Energy are GoGreenBOV, Ampere, Okinawa Scooters, AVERA, Bajaj Auto, Hero MotoCorp, TVS, Pure EV, Tork Motors Pvt.

How is Ather Energy funding?

The Ather Energy funding data reveals that the company has raised $286.8 mn of funds to date.

Who is Ather CEO?

The Ather CEO is Tarun Mehta.

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