This smart mobility startup has built ‘Android for EVs’ and plans to deploy it in a million bikes
BITS Pilani batchmates Jyotiranjan Harichandan and Mohit Yadav spent much of their days in college tinkering with technology and building stuff.
After graduating in 2012, they went on their own ways to pursue careers at Oracle and Adobe respectively, before reuniting in 2017 to set up a smart mobility startup.
‘REVOS’ stands for ‘revolutionary OS’ or what the co-founders describe as ‘Android for EVs’. It is an IoT-enabled operating system that makes any electric two-wheeler and three-wheeler smart, safe, and connected.
EV manufacturers can build a plethora of smart mobility features such as battery management, route navigation, call notifications, speedometers, anti-theft locks, young adult supervision, etc., on top of the software developed by REVOS.
Future iterations of this mobility solution will have added features like music controls, voice assistants, push notifications, etc., REVOS co-founders tell YourStory.
“With REVOS, EVs become more like smartphones than mechanical vehicles. For OEMs, we offer a cloud component that helps them manage customer service requests, distributors, and suppliers on a real-time dashboard.”
‘Android for EVs’
After being in the pilot stage for over two years, REVOS launched commercially in mid-2019. Since then, its OS has been deployed in 500 EVs from 10 OEMs across India, China, Vietnam, and Europe.
REVOS rests on five pillars – vehicular data, diagnostics, smart controls, protection, and real-time visualisation. “It’s a standard plug-and-play solution.
"We are building the Android for EVs,” says the co-founder.
He shares that REVOS wants to be the platform-of-choice for all smart micro-mobility solutions, "providing crucial middleware to not only monitor and control the vehicles but also enable AI features on-the-go.”
The startup claims that it has received annual orders of OS deployment across 200,000 EV units until 2022. Almost 80 to 85 percent of these are global orders.
“We are engaged with prominent ride-sharing companies and offer them the REVOS platform, and other components compatible with our native software,” Jyoti adds.
Growing through Chinese ecosystem
Most of REVOS’ clients hail from China, the global leader in electric vehicles. The Chinese government banned gasoline vehicles almost 20 years ago, thereby pushing the adoption of EVs and fostering innovation in the sector.
Co-founder Mohit says,
“There are 3,000 EV manufacturers in China selling 40 million bikes every year. In India, we sell only about 100,000 EV bikes from 10-odd OEMs. So, the market penetration is much higher there, and it is way easier to sell software in China, contrary to what people believe.”
The founders share that their early introduction to the Chinese EV ecosystem through supplier OKLA helped tremendously given the muted reception it got in India.
“There was no hype around EVs in 2017. The OEMs here told us they were not keen to buy from a startup, and can build their own software. No innovation was happening in the two-wheeler segment. Most components were being imported from China and assembled in India...until Ather Energy started its R&D in India.”
Bengaluru-based Ather Energy, backed by the likes of HeroMotoCorp and Sachin Bansal, has transformed India’s EV ecosystem with its massive manufacturing facilities and thousands of charging grids across the country.
The EV startup also made it to YourStory’s flagship 50 Newsmakers of 2019 list.
Jyoti admits, “The EV ecosystem [in India] is more evolved today. Everyone understands smart bikes, thanks to Ather. Selling software to OEMs is much easier for us now.”
Business model and expansion plans
REVOS operates on a B2B2C model. It is a free app for customers using REVOS-enabled bikes, but its OEM partners are charged on a conventional SaaS model.
Pricing ranges from a one-time fee to a per-vehicle-per-annum charge to a large enterprise plan.
The startup has set itself a deployment target of one million EVs in two years. “We’re focussing more on deployment than on financials right now,” Jyoti reveals.
To fund its expansion across existing markets and new territories like Southeast Asia, REVOS raised an undisclosed seed round in 2019.
Investors included Mumbai-based early-stage VC firm ITI Growth Opportunities Fund, Sun Mobility Co-founder Chetan Maini (an EV industry veteran), MapMyIndia founder Rakesh Verma, among others.
Prior to that, the 13-member startup was also backed by Hyderabad Angels. It was a part of the government-backed incubator at IIIT Hyderabad. REVOS later moved its headquarters to Bengaluru – India’s emerging EV hub.
The startup is in the process of setting up operations in China and acquiring new talent across markets. REVOS counts Sun Mobility, Okinawa, Batt:re, and NDS Motors as its customers. Discussions with Yulu Bikes are also on.
The growing adoption of EVs in India and the increasing number of R&D efforts by leading automobile companies to build more advanced, affordable and feature-rich electric vehicles, are creating opportunities for players like REVOS.
India’s EV market is estimated to touch $2 billion by 2023, according to TechSci Research. But, some roadblocks remain.
Despite Ather Energy’s best efforts, the EV charging infrastructure in India is still inadequate. Inferior quality components continue to be imported and Chinese manufacturers are themselves setting up bases in India.
“Right now, there is no standardisation in EVs unlike in cars. So, a lot of technologies have to be built from scratch. OEMs, component manufacturers, and customers have to be educated about smart mobility, and that will be a challenge.”
But, REVOS has envisioned a smart and connected future, where EVs would be adapting to riders, and not the other way around.
Who knows, they might even add Alexa integrations to the software. Only time will tell.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)