Fueled by crowdfunding, LightSpeed Mobility powers into the e-bike market

3rd Jul 2017
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Started by two Ahmedabad brothers, LightSpeed Mobility is looking to cater to biking enthusiasts and environmentally conscious people in the urban areas with their e-bikes.

This is the story of two brothers from Ahmedabad who efficiently raised money through crowdfunding to build a e-bicycle company. One of them, Rahil Rupawala, wanted to introduce e-bikes in the Indian market ever since he used one while studying at Coventry University, UK. Besides, the scope for expansion in the e-mobility space also seemed to be huge.

LightSpeed Mobility Team
The LightSpeed Mobility team.

Rahil found a partner in his brother, Rushad Rupawala, who has done a Master’s in Business Finance and Risk Management from Monash University, Australia.

While the duo were doing some basic research on cycles and cyclists in the UK, they found that a lot of people across different age groups were not using e-bikes as them found e-bikes to be quite expensive. The brothers then did some market research in India to gauge response to such a concept.

Though the responses were positive enough to start prototyping the product, raising money for it became their biggest challenge. However, a crowdfunding platform, Fueladream, came to their rescue and helped them raise the required fund for marketing the cycle.

Ranganath Thota, Founder & CEO, Fueladream says,

“I think city commuters often ignore alternative means of transport. LightSpeed e-bikes are a great investment for all those looking for energy and cost-effective means of commute.”

Get ready to take a ride!

The brothers launched LightSpeed Mobility in November 2016 with the Rs one crore funding, and the R&D for the e-bike's design took nearly a year to complete. There were some challenges in terms of creating the perfect design for Indian roads—something much more hardy than its western counterparts, and also more affordable.

The uniqueness of LightSpeed e-bikes, according to Rahil, lies in the pedal boost system, portable e-battery and noiseless motor work. It’s currently available in two variants—the LightSpeed GLYD and the LightSpeed DRYFT. With its three-level pedal booster, GLYD can cater to the people in urban areas, giving them the required support in all types of traffic conditions.

DRYFT—The Adventure Companion is for the adventurous, and comes with five-pedal boost and front shock absorbers. Both have a range of 50 km and a top speed of 25kmph.

LightSpeed has already received an order for 50 e-bikes from Fueladream, which is promoting them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. GLYD and DRYFT are available at Rs 27,999 and 37,999 respectively.

“Most of our materials come from local suppliers, while some components are imported to ensure state-of-the-art technology and safety. The e-bikes have undergone rigorous testing for six months, and we have a QC in charge dedicated to looking after our quality standards for components that we import from abroad,” says Rahil (25).

Rahil has an MSc in Design and Transport from Coventry University, UK and a BTech in Mechanical Engineering from Symbiosis University, Pune. Rushad (30) is Head of Management and Finance at LightSpeed Mobility.

Plans ahead

LightSpeed Mobility has a team of 15 taking care of electronics and engineering, transportation design, branding and communication and QC aspects of the bicycles. The company also has a set-up for providing after-sales services.

“It’s too early for us to gauge our revenue for the next few years, but we do have aggressive plans to grow,” Rahil says.

Over the years, India has witnessed a positive trend in the electric vehicle (EV) market, with a bunch of startups ready to grab a pie in the market. According to a report by the Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles, electronic vehicle sales in India grew 37.5 percent to 22,000 units in the year ended March 2016.

Coimbatore-based EV startup Ampere Electric has developed electric cycles, electric two-wheelers, and e-scooters. The company also claims to be the first to make their own chargers (36V and 48V) for e-vehicles.

Ather Energy claims that, unlike other players, its S340 offers a connected ride experience with features such as onboard navigation, personalised profiles, a top speed of 72 kmph and sub-one-hour charging.

Gujarat-based Yo Bykes has pioneered the electric scooter in India. Other players in the space include Hero RNT Diesel Hybrid Scooter, Hero Splendor iSmart, Hero Leap, Mahindra GenZe, TVS Qube and Hyosung ST-E3 EVA.

Website: LightSpeed Mobility

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