India: LeapFrog powers Tiger Global-backed Battery Smart's $65m funding

India: LeapFrog powers Tiger Global-backed Battery Smart's $65m funding

Source: Battery Smart website

Battery Smart, an Indian battery-swapping network for electric vehicles, on Tuesday, said it has raised $65 million in a Series B funding round led by LeapFrog Investments to expand its footprint in its home market.

The equity round consisted of a mix of primary and secondary investments and saw participation from new and existing investors, including MUFG Bank, Panasonic, Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF), Blume Ventures, and British International Investment (BII).

Co-founded by serial entrepreneurs and IIT-Kanpur graduates Pulkit Khurana and Siddharth Sikka, Battery Smart will use the fresh capital to accelerate its expansion, enhance its technology, and strengthen its market presence.

Since the launch of Battery Smart’s first swap station in New Delhi in June 2020, the company has rapidly scaled to 1,000 stations across 30 cities, completing over 35 million swaps. Expanding its footprint nationwide, it has strategically set up stations in tier 1, 2, and 3 cities.

One of the biggest hurdles to EV adoption in India is the lack of charging infrastructure, which creates significant anxiety for those considering the switch. The company claims its battery-as-a-service solution, which enables two-minute battery swaps, reduces upfront costs by up to 40%, making it efficient to own an EV.

Battery Smart’s latest financing comes a year after it raised $33 million in a pre-Series B funding round from Tiger Global, Blume Ventures, EIF, and BII. It had earlier closed a $25-million Series A round led by Tiger Global in 2022 and a $7-million pre-Series A round from Blume Ventures and Orios Venture Partners in November 2021.

Orios Venture Partners has announced a partial exit from Battery Smart, yielding a 29 times return.

The funding is the most recent example of rising investor interest in India’s EV market. The space in India has been buzzing with many startups such as Ather Energy, Altigreen, Ola Electric, BOLT, and Baaz Bikes raising funds from a host of investors including corporate VCs and automakers.

Given the rise in petrol and diesel prices in India and awareness about the environment, more consumers are opting for public transportation such as buses.

BluSmart, an EV ride-hailing service and EV charging infrastructure network, is raising about $25 million in its pre-Series B funding round; while Euler Motors, which is backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, closed its Series C funding round with an additional funding of $24 million last month.

“We view Battery Smart’s offering as a major contributor to India’s overall net zero transition — enabling not only the rapid adoption and sustained use of EVs across the country but also the decarbonisation of the grid,” said Nakul Zaveri, Partner and Co-Head, Climate Investment Strategy, LeapFrog Investments, said.

Last year, sustainability-focused asset manager LeapFrog Investments announced its plans to invest $500 million in companies addressing climate change in Asia and Africa, with projects it hopes will reach up to 50 million low-income people. Singapore state investor Temasek and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have invested in LeapFrog’s climate strategy.

Edited by: Joymitra Rai

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