[Funding alert] Yulu raises $8M in Series A funding led by Bajaj Auto
Bengaluru-based last-mile micro-mobility platform Yulu has raised Series A funding of $8 million, led by leading automobile manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd. Existing investors invested an additional $2 million.
With this funding, Yulu will look at building strong electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure and also fast-track refining its electric scooter, Yulu Miracle. The team is looking to support over 100,000 Yulu Miracles by the end of 2020. It is also looking at building an extensive network of battery-swapping stations across the cities where it operates.
Yulu will source from Bajaj electric two-wheelers which have been co-designed and manufactured exclusively for shared micro-mobility. Bajaj will also consider facilitating Yulu's vehicle finance needs for large-scale deployment of its micro-mobility electric vehicles.
Rajiv Bajaj with Amit Gupta, the Co-founder of Yulu.
In a conversation with YourStory, Amit Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, Yulu, said,
"In 2016, we began with our use case of bicycles, and late last year we launched our EV product. It was then we realised that the infrastructure like batteries and charging stations wasn't strong. So we began building on those, and in the effort towards that, we partnered temporarily with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in China. We also designed our own batteries, and focused on setting up charging infrastructure. At the moment, charging stations are restricted to Yulu's private fleet, but the infrastructure needs to expand."
It was with this in mind that Yulu partnered with Bajaj Auto, which was handling the assembly for the EV startup. This investment is a further strategic alignment between the auto giant and mobility startup. The Yulu team believes that consumer adoption of EVs has been limited due to practical factors like range anxiety and availability.
On the other hand, improving asset utilisation of the existing class of vehicles with shared-mobility platforms has not been able to reduce the dual problem of traffic congestion and pollution in a significant way.
Speaking on the investment, Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj, said:
“At BAL, we believe that the two factors of congestion reduction and pollution control will drive the segment of shared micro-mobility in the future. That, coupled with the expansion of Mass Rapid Transport System like Metro in large cities, will further boost the demand for flexible last-mile connectivity. In Yulu we find an experienced and committed partner with robust achievement of success metrics in a very short time. And this is why we decided to partner with them in their journey of bringing Yulu services to every neighbourhood of Urban India.”
Amit, co-founder and former president (OEM and Telco Solutions) at InMobi, began Yulu in 2017 with Naveen Dachuri, RK Mishra, and Hemant Gupta. The startup, operational in Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar, aims to address traffic problems with an IoT solution.
Amit explains that the aim is to build an ecosystem of EV-led micro-mobility to expand its services to eight mega cities and select smart cities under the current Smart Cities Mission.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)