Startup Innovations in EV Sector: Case studies from VJTI-TBI, Mumbai
New-age entrepreneurs are entering the EV market with new business models and introducing innovative technologies to automate Agri-produce harvesting, promoting personal mobility, and introduce last-mile micro-mobility products, etc.
According to a market report, India has sold more than one million electric vehicles (EV) in the last two years. According to Mordor Intelligence, the Indian electric vehicle market was valued at $5 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $47 billion by 2026 registering a CAGR of above 44 percent during the forecast period (2021-2026).
However, the EV market in India is still considered to be in a nascent stage but is expected to grow at a much faster rate due to various government initiatives including the implementation of the FAME-II Scheme and promotion of EV products and associated industries. In recent times, a significant contribution to this sector has come from both traditional manufacturers and startups. New-age entrepreneurs are entering the EV market with new business models and introducing innovative technologies to automate agri-produce harvesting, promoting personal mobility and introduce last-mile micro-mobility products, etc.,
Considering these encouraging trends, VJTI Technology Business Incubator (VJTI-TBI), set at the prestigious Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Mumbai, has been supporting startups focusing on various aspects of EV including technology, innovation, and business models.
Established in 2017 with the support of the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India under the NIDHI-TBI Scheme, VJTI-TBI was created as a platform for supporting ambitious entrepreneurs and startups in the country focusing on thematic areas including energy, cleantech, EV, IoT, AI/ML and cybersecurity of critical infrastructure.
This award-winning (awarded 'Smart Incubator of the Year' at ISGF Innovations Awards 2020) incubator is already supporting around 30 startups that were selected through a robust selection process. The incubated startups are also provided with co-working space, access to state-of-the-art lab infrastructure (SCADA & Automation Lab, Power Electronics Lab, and AI/ML and Embedded Systems Lab) equipped to test products and prototypes in the domains mentioned above.
In addition, VJTI-TBI also provides advisory services in business management, IPR, finance, and accounting, legal and technical domains through collaborations with third-party service providers and industry associations. Start-ups incubated with the incubator also get access to free tools including AWS credits, ZOHO platform, Zendesk CRM, SOLIDWORKS licenses, MatLab and Simulink licenses, and MyOperator cloud telephony credits.
VJTI-TBI has also partnered with several corporates (Larsen and Toubro Infotech (LTI), Emerson, NVIDIA, Siemens, and CISCO) and industry bodies (India Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association, Cyber Peace Foundation, The Institute of Engineering and Technology, India Energy Storage Alliance, and India Smart Grid Forum) to provide support the start-ups either through mentoring, funding, and infrastructure support (including lab infrastructure). Startups are also provided with seed support through its CSR partnership with LTI, ITD Cementation India, SIDBI Capital Ventures, and Technotalent Engineering India.
Some of the promising EV startups currently incubated at VJTI-TBI:
Mag9 Energies Private Limited:
Sunit Shah, Nikunj Shah, and Vikas Gupta co-founded Mag9 Energies (previously Magnes Motors India) with the sole purpose of providing micro-mobility services in the EV segment. The Team under the brand 'Magnes Motors' was one of the first to offer an electric go-kart for the amusement parks in the country. Later they focused on also developing a dirt bike for the amateur sports industry and have already developed a prototype of an electric delivery 2-wheeler for the logistics sector.
Mag9 Energies has generated revenues of Rs 1 crore from the go-kart product line and has also introduced an E-Bike recently. These e-bikes will soon be made available on the VJTI campus as a part of their go-green initiative. Mag9 Energies have been selected as finalists in STPI Motion and other reputed incubation programs in the country focusing on EV development.
PMV Electric Private Limited:
PMV, an acronym for personal mobility vehicles is currently developing its flagship product, EaS-E, a fully electric smart car for everyday use with a focus on sustainable personal mobility to address the global challenges of pollution, climate change, urban congestion & parking issues. The two-seater fully electric smart microcar will have some top-of-the-line benefits like cruise control, a feet-free driving mode in traffic, remote parking assist, over-the-air updates besides the regular air conditioner, music system, navigation, safety seat belts, etc.
The startup has received more than 200+ inbound leads for the product and has got an initial confirmation from an existing OEMs distributor (Exports) to exclusively distribute the product in their market (can translate into Rs 10 crore of order book).
PMV Electric has raised initial seed funds through Angel Investors in November 2020 and has got a further commitment to raise more funds. Also, they have export inquiries under discussion, so that they can realize their dream of Made in India, Made for the World!
Jyosh AI Solutions Private Limited:
JyoSH Agriculture Integrated Robot is an EV-enabled and AI-ML-technology-based smart, precision farming solution for entire automation cotton cultivation which includes weed management, crop health monitoring, and cotton harvesting. It improves the productivity and profitability of cotton farmers by saving labor and chemical costs. Jyosh AI robot is also designed to automate the cultivation of other fruits and vegetables as well.
The co-founders, Dr. Sharadchandra Lohokare and Mr. Jitendra Ahirrao, have a total combined experience of over 50 years in mechatronics, product development, AI/ML, and program management. Jyosh AI Solutions are the winners of the Agri India Hackathon held in Feb 2021 under the 'Farm Mechanization' category. They have also been selected for NIDHI PRAYAS funding and by NASSCOM for DTC (Deep Technology Club). At present, the startup is also incubated at SINE-IIT Bombay and AIC-RMP, Mumbai. They also signed an MoU with Dr. Panjabrao Deshmukh Vidyapeeth, Akola for agri-domain support, and Jadhao Agro Industries, Amravati for product manufacturing.
Along with Mag9 Energies, PMV Electric, and Jyosh AI Solutions, VJTI-TBI expects to support more EV-based startups in the future cohorts.
With the right support of lab infrastructure, training, mentoring, and fundraising, startups incubated with VJTI-TBI can positively aim to take their tech-based product/ service to the next level.
The article is authored by Dr. Roshan Yedery, CEO, VJTI-TBI