Indian: Bajaj Auto invests $8m in e-bike rental startup Yulu

Visual from Yulu website

Indian motorcycle maker Bajaj Auto Ltd (BAL) Tuesday said it is investing $8 million in Bengaluru-based bicycle and electric scooter rental startup Yulu.

Per the investment terms, Yulu will source electric two-wheelers from Bajaj. The vehicles will be co-designed and manufactured exclusively for shared micro-mobility. Besides, Bajaj will also consider facilitating the vehicle finance needs of Yulu for a large scale deployment of its micro-mobility electric vehicles, it said in a statement.

The deal talks between the two companies surfaced in June this year. According to earlier media reports, Yulu is looking to raise a total of $15-20 million in the ongoing funding round, and is also in talks to bring in other new investors.

“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,” Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj, said.

Yulu will use the fresh financing to further strengthen its mobility platform and to deepen the technology solutions for rapid expansion. It plans to increase its fleet size to 100,000 electric two-wheelers by December 2020 from 15,000 vehicles at present. The startup currently offers services in Bengaluru, New Delhi, Pune, Greater Mumbai, and Bhubaneswar.

Launched by former InMobi cofounder Amit Gupta, RK Mishra, Hemant Gupta, and Naveen Dachuri in 2017, Yulu started off as a bicycle-sharing startup. In February this year, it also expanded its offerings to include dockless, lithium-powered scooters it calls Yulu Miracle.

With this partnership, Yulu will consolidate its leadership position in the shared electric micro-mobility space and help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) in India. Yulu is building an ecosystem of EV led micro-mobility and aims to expand it’s services to 8 mega cities and select smart cities under Smart Cities Mission, the statement added.

Amit Gupta, Co-Founder & CEO, Yulu, said, “Yulu’s electric two-wheelers will help Indian commuters with the first and the last mile connectivity option. This partnership aims to solve the mobility challenges of urban India in an eco-friendly manner.”

Yulu competes with the likes of Shunwei Capital-backed Rapido, Ola-backed Vogo, B Capital-backed Bounce, and Drivezy among others.

Last month, Rapido secured $55 million in a Series B round of financing from a group of investors including Shunwei Capital, a Chinese venture capital firm led by smartphone maker Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun. Hedge fund Steadview Capital is reportedly in talks to lead a $50 million funding round in two-wheeler rental startup Vogo.

Bounce is also close to finalising a $100-million Series D funding round led by existing investors Accel Growth and B Capital, The Economic Times reported last month.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.