How This Nikhil Kamath-Backed Battery Tech Startup Is 'Making A Dent' In The EV Space

In the past few years, India has seen rapid development in the EV space, with several startups and even legacy players joining the rush. One startup that recently made headlines in the space is EMO Energy. Last month, the battery tech startup announced a $1.2 million (around ₹10 crore) raise in a seed funding round led by Transition VC and co-led by Nikhil Kamath‘s Gruhas.

We caught up with one of its founders, Sheetanshu Tyagi to know more about the firm and how it plans to change the EV charging space. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

EMO Energy- The Company

“Emo Energy is a battery tech company trying to scale net zero solutions across applications. We’ve developed a few technologies that allow better safety, better battery life, better charging speeds for EVs and now we’re implementing those across two, and three-wheelers.” This is how Tyagi defines the company adding that the company is basically working towards “making a dent in the EV energy storage space.”

How Did It All Start?

Talking about the idea and his motivation behind starting the company Tyagi tells Benzinga India that the idea of starting something of his own has been with him for a very long time.

“When I was in college in 2014, I started my first company that was essentially also kind of in the automotive space, but that experience didn’t go as planned obviously.”

After that, he moved to the US to figure out what was happening in the EV space in America. He then returned to the country after working in the US for five years.

“So I came back to India and was trying to search for a co-founder instead got recruited to Ather, then saw an opportunity at Ola. So I jumped and then that’s where everything changed.”

Tyagi met with his cofounder Rahul Patel while working at Ola Electric. Patel had worked with General Motors, and Sun Mobility before joining. The two got together and started EMO Energy in Feb 2022.

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The Product

The two founders early on started by thinking of an entire EV from scratch, but later realised that it was a little late and the “pressing problem today in the space was safety, charging, battery life and cost.”

“And all of these, when you think of electric vehicles, when you think of sustainable mobility in general, all of it revolves around batteries,” Tyagi added.

“So the objective was how do we build something that is very, very competitive in costs, but then just completely blows out everything else in terms of performance and safety. Everybody knows that any EV in terms of the total cost of ownership is great because charging costs are low and all that is fine. But how do you take even a current EV and then extend life by 60%?

Because now whatever I paid upfront in the beginning. I’m getting for twice as long. So I’d still be okay as a commercial vehicle owner paying a little bit of premium, compared to the engine vehicle knowing that over life, not only will I beat the engine vehicle on the total cost of ownership, I will also beat any other EV possible.

That is the kind of confidence we now have in our system because we’ve been basically been able to figure out something that is not cheap. It’s basically value for money. Like so we’ve essentially developed something that gives you a better life, and very good performance at market competitive pricing.”

The Funding

The startup scene in India and the world has been difficult for the past few years mainly because the funding seems to have dried up. Many upcoming startups and even late-stage startups have faced problems related to funding in these past couple of years.

So when asked how EMO Energy went about navigating through the trouble Tyagi said: “Once we started trying to raise funds, there was obviously a lot of talk of funding winter, a lot of apprehensions in terms of raising big funds, a lot of drops in valuation. Everybody’s got hit in some way or the other in this. But what I do see and what I do believe is that value for good companies is still there, you still see good companies getting tens of millions of dollars they might not get outrageous valuations but it’s all still there.

So the same thing I have felt for us like there has been interest from real venture capitalists who are really looking for good companies to put money in. So yeah, I think there’s obviously been a downfall in the global scenario of things but it’s also allowed a company like us who is purely banking on product and technology and superiority of team as a company and not on bloated valuations, for example, to be able to succeed. We stand out now.”

The Plans For The Future

Talking about the company’s plans of employing the fresh funds Tyagi said “50% of that will essentially go into scaling our current two and three-wheeler battery pack system. We have a bunch of orders for that. We’ve already worked and validated that in multiple companies. So only scaling is left. The rest of the budget essentially will go into R&D.”

Tyagi said that the company plans to expand into catering to larger vehicles, and the rest of the money would be used to develop systems for that.

Tyagi also discussed that the company was in talks with a lot of different OEMs for possible partnerships.”I think as we speak we are literally making like 10 connections with different OEMs and we’ll be announcing a lot of these partnerships in the next six months or so because they’re kind of finally forming up.”

As per Tyagi, last year, the company had almost clocked ₹1 crore in revenue and is well on track to increase that number a lot more in the coming year with a bunch of orders in the pipeline.

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