River, an Indian Electric Two-Wheeler Startup has Secured $40 Million in Funding from Yamaha

Spread the love

Indian electric two-wheeler market is still evolving and has not yet addressed the practical needs of urban commuters by overlooking factors like onboard storage space and affordability. River understood the need of urban commuters for electric scooters that offers sufficient storage space to carry their belongings conveniently, without compromising on performance or affordability. On its mission, River has raised $40 million (Rs 332 crore) in a Series B funding round led by Japanese automaker Yamaha Motor Co. with participation from existing investors Al-Futtaim Automotive, Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, and Tel Aviv-based Maniv Mobility.

“The investment is a significant boost for our plan to build a billion-dollar global utility-lifestyle brand by 2030,” said Aravind Mani, co-founder and chief executive of River. “We have built a great base in R&D and manufacturing over the last two years and now, it’s time to grow.”

River start-up gained funding

The Series B funding marks another milestone in River’s journey of growth and innovation. Previously, the startup secured $2 million in a seed round in 2021, followed by an $11 million Series A funding round in 2022. In June 2023, River raised $15 million in a funding round led by Dubai-based Al Futtaim Group, highlighting its appeal to both local and international investors. This latest capital infusion brings River’s total fundraising to an impressive $68 million (Rs 565 crore).

“We are impressed by the progress that River has achieved in such a short span of time, especially with the strong focus on design and technology. We are excited about the conviction that Aravind and Vipin have for River and how Yamaha can support the company to achieve this”, says Hajime “Jim” Aota, chief general manager of New Business Development Centre, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.

The company plans to utilize the fresh capital to accelerate the expansion of its distribution and service network across India and further invest in research and development to enhance its product lineup. With a strong focus on research and development, River boasts an R&D facility in Bengaluru, where it designs and develops its electric vehicles. The company also operates a manufacturing facility in Hoskote, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, reflecting its commitment to local production and job creation.

The company’s flagship product, the Indie electric scooter, which was launched in October 2023 has emerged as a game-changer in the market. Designed entirely in-house at River’s R&D facility in Bengaluru, the Indie prioritizes practicality and affordability while delivering a reliable and eco-friendly commuting solution. With a total of 55 litres of onboard storage space, including a spacious 43-litre compartment under the seat and an additional 12-litre glovebox, the Indie addresses the storage needs of urban commuters, enabling them to carry their belongings conveniently.

Moreover, River recently inaugurated its first showroom in Bengaluru, showcasing the start-up’s aim to expand in key markets across India. The vision of the platform is to shift the focus towards electric mobility in the country, driven by environmental concerns, government incentives, and evolving consumer preferences.

“We have a couple of products in mind. But we do not know what we will prioritize and launch first yet. However, I can tell you that any product we do will be within this particular purview of utility,” Mani said.

“With Yamaha coming on board, there is also a strategic understanding to possibly collaborate on product lines, but we don’t have definitive agreements yet in place, or how that collaboration will look alike is not something that we have definitely agreements on. So, at this time, it’s a pure-play financial investment with the potential to collaborate more,” the co-founder noted.

River: Revolutionizing Urban Mobility with Innovative Electric Two-Wheelers

River, co-founded by Aravind Mani (CEO) and Vipin George (CPO) in March 2021, stands as a pioneering force in the Indian electric two-wheeler market. The startup is committed to revolutionizing urban mobility through its innovative and practical electric scooters.

“River’s mission is to improve the day-to-day lives of people through a design-first approach. Our first product Indie is a bold statement, combining two different offerings — utility and lifestyle. It will be the most sensible scooter with the right mix of practicality, capability and style.”, said Aravind Mani, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at River.

Spanning an impressive area of 70,000 square feet in Whitefield, Bengaluru, River boasts a state-of-the-art Research and Development (R&D) facility. This facility houses a fully-fledged Design Studio, Mechanical Workshop, Electrical Labs, and Battery Labs, underscoring the company’s dedication to cutting-edge technology and product development.

Complementing its R&D prowess, River operates a sprawling manufacturing facility in Hoskote, Bengaluru, covering an expansive area of 120,000 square feet. With a production capacity of 100,000 units per year, this facility enables River to meet the growing demand for its electric scooters while maintaining stringent quality standards.

“Indie is inspired by the modern Indian who is always on the move, who wants to make the most of every day. The unique combination of design elements and technical specs give Indie a distinct character, something that inspires you to do more and be more.”, said Vipin George, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at River.

Pioneering Electric Two-Wheelers – A Journey of Innovation and Mobility Transformation

River started its journey in late 2020 with a clear vision to revolutionize urban mobility in India. Founded by Aravind Mani and Vipin George, the company embarked on its mission with an initial backing of $2 million from investors including Maniv Mobility and TrucksVC. Drawing upon their collective experience and expertise in the automotive industry, Mani and George assembled a team of 42 talented individuals, with backgrounds spanning companies like Ather, Arai, Bosch, Honda, Ultraviolette, and Vespa. This diverse team brought together a wealth of knowledge and skills, laying the foundation for River’s ambitious goals.

“A parallel would be the truck culture in the United States; if you’re a carpenter or shop owner you have a truck, which you use to carry stuff and it’s also your primary mode of commute,” Mani said. “We don’t have anything similar on the two-wheeler space in India, and that’s what we want to create.”

At the same time, Mani noted the vehicle also had to have personality because “in India it is still a status purchase that you want to show off to your friends; it is a first symbol that you have arrived in life for many people owning a two-wheeler.”

Driven by a desire to create a versatile and stylish electric scooter that catered to the needs of modern consumers, Mani and George set out to develop a prototype vehicle codenamed the RX-1. With a focus on utility and performance, the RX-1 was designed to serve as a practical tool for work while offering an exhilarating riding experience. Throughout the development process, River remained committed to its core values of innovation, sustainability, and customer-centricity. The founders recognized the importance of infusing personality and style into the vehicle, acknowledging that in India, owning a two-wheeler is often viewed as a status symbol.

“The gold rush to capture this emerging opportunity has commenced,” the report from managing director and senior analyst Venugopal Garre said regarding the increase of start-ups for electric mobility.

“A few will get acquired, several will perish, some will remain low-scale niche OEMs, but we think a few will scale up materially.”

After months of meticulous design and engineering work, River unveiled the RX-1, a “multi-utility” electric scooter available in several battery pack sizes, offering impressive range and acceleration capabilities. Priced ranged between 80,000 INR ($1,070) and 100,000 INR ($1,337) and the RX-1 positioned itself as an accessible and attractive option for urban commuters. As River prepared for its official launch, it found itself entering a dynamic and competitive market landscape. India’s government has intensified efforts to promote electric vehicles, offering subsidies and incentives to manufacturers. Furthermore, e-commerce and delivery companies were increasingly electrifying their fleets, presenting new opportunities for growth and collaboration.

Despite facing stiff competition from established players and a crowded startup landscape, River remained undeterred. The company differentiated itself through its unique business model, which included direct sales to consumers, subscription services, and a range of customizable accessories.

As River continues on its journey, the company remains committed to its vision of transforming urban mobility, one electric scooter at a time. With a relentless focus on innovation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, River is poised to make a significant impact on the future of transportation in India and beyond.

“By the time we are a five-year-old company in March 2026, we want to be in 100 cities and come to a scale of selling around 9,000 vehicles a month, which is approximately $200 million in turnover,” Aravind Mani, co-founder and CEO of River, said in an interview.

Join The Story Watch’s initiative to create a vibrant community for the startup ecosystem.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 199

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!