Why We Invested in BatteryPool




Managing a pool of commercial vehicles can be a challenge at the best of times. And if you add to this the external influences that a fleet manager faces and has little control over such as car market uncertainty and spiralling costs, the task can become overwhelming. The relevant software can play an enormous part in coordinating fleet management activities.So, what is the purpose of fleet management, what role does fleet management software have to play and how does it support the role of the fleet manager?  Any organisation that incorporates vehicles for use within the business requires some form of professional fleet management, which will help them control the entire lifecycle of commercial vehicles, reduce associated risk, improve efficiency, increase productivity and ensure compliance with legislation. Private vehicles used for work purposes, known as the grey fleet, will also require such management.

"The broad vision is to foster the adoption of electric mobility. We are currently doing that in the commercial and the fleet vehicle space. People who use electric vehicles and fleets face operational challenges such as finding the right place to recharge, vehicles can break down but you cannot take the vehicle to a mechanic as he might not know how to operate it, so the product that BatteryPool builds helps to address those operational issues for the fleet operators” Ashwin Shankar, Founder of Batterypool. BatteryPool is a Saas product that gives one platform for managing all aspects for one’s EV fleet operations and they also have some key hardware products that the EV fleet operators manage the fleet better. 

The Co Founders, Ashwin and Neil have been friends since the past 12 years, known each other from their undergraduate days. Ashwin Shankar is the founder/CEO of BatteryPool. He  holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He has experience in hardware development for space environments at Stanford University (in collaboration with NASA) and the energy industry at Schlumberger Corporation in Houston, TX. He also has experience in building a non-profit in India that works on technology policy in the Indian ecosystem. Neil Nevgi is the co-founder and head of operations at BatteryPool. He obtained his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. He has 5+ years of experience in the automotive industry working at Daimler/Mercedes Benz in India and Germany where he was managing operations in the quality team. 

After completing his graduation in Electrical Engineering. Ashwin went for his masters, completed that and thought of starting his own company in Pune. “Since both of us were here in Pune we started talking about Electrical space, the industry and various other aspects that could help, and as Neil was from the automotive industry he knew this space very well.” Ashwin added. BatteryPool was formed in 2018 with a vision of fostering mass adoption of electric mobility in India. They are building and deploying technology driven SaaS and hardware solutions that are crafted to meet the needs of EV fleet operators. 

Market Opportunity

Fleet Management Market size is expected to reach $34,629 million by 2022, from $7,755 million in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 24.5% from 2016 to 2022. Fleet management enables enterprises to track and maintain their vehicles in a cost-effective, quick, and accessible way. It involves functions such as vehicle tracking & diagnostics, financing, driver management, and others. It helps business organizations that depend greatly on transportation to lower or completely eliminate the risks associated with staff cost, operations, and others. Reduced fuel & overall running costs, enhanced safety, and optimized fleet operations, with real-time fleet tracking and monitoring are the benefits offered by fleet management. 

Electric Mobility in the world is getting too much traction, not only in India but globally. Government is trying to incentivize the adoption of Electric mobility, but at the same time the prices of the battery is also falling to much extent and that makes the economic use case of electric vehicles more viable. Growth in adoption of wireless technology, obligatory incorporation of ELD, need of operational competency in fleet management, and increase in international trades are the major factors that fuel the growth of the fleet management market. 

The impact of adoption of wireless technology in fleet management is expected to be high in the near future, owing to its advantages such as quick access & response, wide-area coverage, and cost reduction, which help the vendors to increase their productivity, efficiency, and ROI. Furthermore, cost sensitivity among local players is expected to decrease, as the average selling prices of fleet management software & communication technology are expected to decline during the analysis period.  

The BatteryPool Thesis

BatteryPool Co Founders had applied for the Class 01 batch, at that point of time still they were operating their fleet in Pune, as they were in their early stage that time, so for class 02, 100x.vc once again reached out to them and since Aswin and Neil fulfilled the checklist 100x.vc thought that they would be fit for Class 02. 100x.vc had already been interested in this space but they were looking for a right time for this to invest. Battery Pool's unique SaaS play is a unique offering for the EV mobility space and their current pipeline engagements in India and Africa have been very promising. The team is sound and brings the capability of execution, and know this space very well.

BatteryPool operates on a B2B model. Their business model is split into two broad segments - EV Telematics (Hardware sale at $150/unit) and Charging Telematics (Hardware sale at $150/unit). For managing both, the accompanying software application is $10/unit/month. 

They bought a fleet of 20 electric vehicles knowing that initial adoption would happen in the fleet use case, they wanted to understand the fleet operators space, and then they gave these vehicles to the delivery boys and small business in Pune, after that they saw what problems are they facing, what kind of solutions they can come up with, all the products that they build the platform, the hardware was specifically built or their own operations, it was basically to solve their own problems they were facing. 

Then after this they started marketing their products , and now they have a global customer base. Their initial revenue for 2018-2019 was 60k and it slowly and gradually moved to a higher side and became 6 lakhs and after 100x.vc investment the revenue is 10lakhs and growing. So initially they had 3 delivery boys and 20 vehicles, now they have moved from hardware to software 4 Enterprise with them.

Powerhive is a large mini grid company operating out of Kenya. They have a fleet of 2W and 3W EVs being rented out to the local community. Traditional fleet management systems were not suitable to run EV fleet ops as they had no information on aspects such as the charging points, battery health and electric vehicle maintenance. Further, they were also looking to deploy battery swapping stations plugged into their mini grids so their customers can access fully charged batteries instantly.

The BatteryPool solutions provided a full stack (S/W platform + Battery Swapping Stations) that allowed Powerhive to manage all aspects of their EV fleet ops. The solution allowed them to deploy and manage their EVs right away without having to build and integrate the entire tech stack

Conclusion

Battery Pool is a platform which can add more value and can uplift the fleet industry. “ After the investment of 100x.vc things have really accelerated for us both on the fundraising side as well as on the business side as well,” Ashwin mentioned. They have also seen a good amount of traction in the COVID situation. BatteryPool comes with both mission and vision and a vast amount of opportunities seen in the upcoming years.







- 100X.VC Team

Published on: October 21, 2020