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Electric-vehicle financing startup Vidyut raises $4 million in first round of funding

Vidyut (VT), a platform for EV financing and vehicle lifecycle management, has raised $4 million in a mix of equity and debt in a round co-led by Force Ventures, Veda VC, and a clutch of strategic angels in the clean energy space. Some of the most prominent names in the startup ecosystem participated in the round: Sujeet Kumar (Udaan), Sahil Barua (Delhivery), Kunal Shah (CRED), Sriharsha Majety (Swiggy), and Rajat Verma (Lohum).

Founded in 2021, Vidyut makes commercial EV ownership simple, affordable, and a risk-free proposition for customers through its unique ownership plans. Using battery health data and its proprietary underwriting model, VT manages to extract a high residual value for EVs, helping customers get an effective interest rate of as low as 7%. This is almost on par with the ROI offered by PSU banks in this sector for conventional vehicles with an internal combustion engine (ICE).

The company’s differentiation lies in its one-of-a-kind battery subscription ownership plan powered by proprietary asset-underwriting algorithms. The company already offers ownership solutions for Mahindra, Altigreen Euler and OSM vehicles. Having established a strong product-market fit and secured funding now, Vidyut will scale up the offering across OEM partners and geographies. It will double the headcount of its credit, engineering, and sales teams.

The adoption of commercial electric vehicles in the retail market, which comprises individual drivers and small business operators, has been slow because of a litany of problems.

● The high upfront cost of EVs, coupled with lower loan-to-value financing, has reduced the affordability of EVs. Down payment requirements are 2.5-3 times more expensive than in the case of ICE vehicles.

● Uncertainty around battery life and the high replacement cost of batteries, which is 40-50% of the vehicle value, also make would-be buyers hesitant.

● Lastly, the inability to determine the residual value of the vehicle and a non-existent resale market increase the stress and risk perception of EV ownership.

“The biggest consumer need to unlock commercial EV adoption is smart financing. While OEMs are pushing the frontiers of EV tech, the market has lagged in innovating on the financing front. The lifecycle and the ownership journey of an electric ride are very different from those of an ICE vehicle. The market needs financing solutions tailored for EVs. At Vidyut, we are leveraging EV tech, with support from our OEM partners, to build a technology stack that fundamentally changes the ownership experience. We are excited to have marquee investors, who understand these nuances, join us in our journey,” said Vidyut co-founder Xitij Kothi

VT offers two ownership plans: a hybrid financing model of a vehicle loan with a battery subscription, which brings down the upfront EV cost by 40-50%, and a traditional term loan plan.

“There is a huge demand and continued shift in the strategy of large enterprises across industries which are now moving their supply chains towards clean energy and welcoming technology solutions. Yet, to scale big in India, the power lies in unlocking the value from small fleet owners and consumers who will ultimately drive the adoption. Vidyut’s solution is among the few that address the nuances of the EV ecosystem and solve one of the biggest pain points in the sector using technology,” said Udaan founder and angel investor Sujeet Kumar

“In a short period, Vidyut has demonstrated a strong user value proposition and product-market fit, both on the side of customers buying vehicles as well as financial services stakeholders, who depend on the platform’s proprietary models and technology solutions. We are excited by the team’s execution and their long-term orientation as they build the platform of choice for India’s EV ecosystem,” said Karthik Bhat, a partner at Force Ventures

“Although it makes great economic sense to adopt Electric commercial vehicles, lack of relevant financing has been a key bottleneck to mass scale adoption among fleet owners and drivers. VT with its unique tech led underwriting, asset management and buyback enables financiers to lend to this market with low NPAs, propelling the EV revolution further,” said Avijeet Alagathi, Managing Partner, VedaVC

About the founders:

Gaurav Srivastava is a 2011 IIT-KGP and IIM-A 2013 grad. He spent over six years at BCG, working in the automotive sector, among others. Most recently, he was one of the key leaders in the EV vertical at Bounce. He helped set up the EV fleet and the swapping network at Bounce and built the entire product-side supply chain and partnerships for their EV business.

Xitij Kothi is a second-time founder and a seasoned operator in the internet space. After graduating from IIT-B in 2011, Xitij founded on-demand delivery company Parcelled, which was backed by Delhivery. He has worked at top internet companies, including Flipkart, Rivigo and, most recently, Swiggy, where he led categories.

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