Yulu, a Bangalore-based electric bike-sharing platform that maintains a partnership with Uber, said today it has won the backing of one of the country’s largest automaker firms. The two-year-old startup said it has entered into a strategic partnership with Bajaj Auto, which has also funded Yulu’s $8 million Series A financing round. As part of the partnership, Bajaj will co-design and manufacture the future generation of Yulu two-wheelers.
Bajaj will also consider facilitating the vehicle finance needs of Yulu for a large scale deployment of its micro-mobility electric vehicles through Bajaj Finserv. The partnership is aimed at transforming urban commute in India.
With the funding, Yulu plans to increase its fleet size to 100K electric two-wheelers by Dec 2020. As of today, the startup has a fleet of 3000 EVs and 8500 scooters. Though the company has not taken off bicycles from the roads, it has stopped buying them as the startup plans to focus on EVs only.
Yulu, which operates in Bengaluru and recently entered portions of New Delhi and Mumbai, has raised about $18.5 million to date.
“At Bajaj Auto, 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,” said Rajiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj.
Yulu is a dockless, lithium-powered scooter mainly focusing on the sub- 5 km first- and last-mile connectivity, the same market which Ola-backed Vogo and Sequoia, Accel backed Bounce is also targeting.
The startup maintains over 3,000 electric bikes on its platform. A customer can rent the bike through Yulu’s app for 14 cents, pay another 14 cents for each hour of usage and then park it at the nearest zone.
The company plans to increase its fleet size to 100,000 electric two-wheelers by December 2020. It currently has a fleet of 15,000 vehicles. It claims to complete between 30,000-35,000 rides a day, of which 12,000-13,000 come from its electric scooters.
“Shared mobility is an ecosystem play. We started working with cities, corporates and citizens to solve for safe parking, metro authorities to help public transport and on the private mobility side, we partnered with Uber. In the same way as a part of the ecosystem we needed an Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM, which is where Bajaj comes in,” said Amit Gupta, co-founder, and CEO, Yulu.