Source: Ultraviolette Website

Startup Street: Electric Motorcycle Startup Finds A Mainstream Backer 

This week on Startup Street we have a mainstream two-wheeler company backing an electric motorcycle startup. Paytm acquired a majority stake in the entity formed by the merger of Nearbuy.com and Little Internet, SpaceX founder Elon Musk indulged in some friendly banter on Twitter, and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin invested in his first Indian startup. Here’s what went on.

TVS Motor Buys Stake In Ultraviolette

Source: Ultraviolette Facebook Page
Source: Ultraviolette Facebook Page

At first glance, this may look like the fifth generation light cycle right out of the Tron movies. Instead, this is the electric motorcycle prototype that is being developed by lesser-known startup Ultraviolette, in which TVS Motor Company Ltd. has picked up a near 15 percent stake.

The Chennai-based two-wheeler maker has pumped in around Rs 5 crore for acquiring 6,750 equity shares of Ultraviolette, according to its stock exchange filing. TVS has disclosed nothing more than saying that it is a "strategic investment" on their part.

Source: Ultraviolette Website
Source: Ultraviolette Website

Based in Bengaluru, the 13-member team of Ultraviollete is working on making the electric motorcycle come to reality. It has developed three prototypes of the model. The startup, founded by Niraj Rajmohan and Narayan Subramaniam, had started operations in December 2015, according to TVS' filing. It had a total revenue Rs 3.21 lakh in the financial year to March 2017.

The startup had earlier also grabbed eyeballs when it had developed a hybrid cycle bagging the ‘excellent design award’ at the International Bike Festival 2016 in Taipei. The Twister, as it was called, ran on a motor but could also be doubled up as a bicycle.

Source: Ultraviolette Website
Source: Ultraviolette Website

This is also the second large-scale Indian motorcycle manufacturer to back an electric vehicle startup. Hero Motocorp has earlier invested in Ather Energy which is making a smart electric scooter.

Paytm’s Boost For Offline Merchants

Paytm has acquired a majority stake in the entity formed by the merger of Nearbuy.com and Little Internet, two discover and deals platforms for local merchants.

The combined entity will continue to enable customers to discover deals and discounts and also “help merchants effectively utilise their inventory and acquire new customers,” Paytm said in a media statement on their blog.

Nearbuy and Little Internet work with small and large merchants and list deals and offers that can be availed by users on their platform.

This combination of Nearbuy and Little marks a great opportunity for us to reinforce our commitment to support small and large retailers in the new age of mobile commerce and Payments.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO, Paytm

In short, this means customers on Paytm will not get more deals, while its over 50 lakh merchant partners will get more customers to sell their products to.

Musk Watch

Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Company founder Elon Musk is mesmerising his followers on microblogging website Twitter.

Earlier during the week, aviation giant Boeing 's chief executive Dennis Muilenburg said that it is developing a Space Launch System with the help of NASA and will beat Musk's SpaceX in the race to Mars.

Musk took to Twitter and cheekily responded “Do it”.

A day later, Musk tweeted that on the coming Tuesday SpaceX will attempt to refly both an orbital rocket and a spacecraft for the first time ever.

He has also made some more geeky additions to his plans of putting a “midnight cherry” coloured Tesla Roadster car in a giant rocket and flying it off to Mars, while playing David Bowie’s Space Oddity in the background. Now, Musk said that the glove box will contain a copy of Douglas Adams' The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy, and a towel that reads “Don't Panic”. (A reference to the book itself)

If you think that was that, Musk has also changed his Twitter bio to a hat salesman. This was presumably a cheek-in-tongue reference to The Boring Company—which Musk had established on a whim after being stuck in traffic—that is also selling $20 caps on its website. Musk also tweeted that every 5000th buyer of the “boringly boring hat will get a free hat signed by the delivery guy”.

Facebook’s Other Co-Founder Invests In His First Indian Startup

Eduardo Saverin. (Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg)
Eduardo Saverin. (Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg)

Mswipe, a startup that helps merchants accept digital payments, bagged $40 million from Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, marking the billionaire's first investment into an Indian startup.

Saverin’s global venture capitalist fund B Capital Group—which focuses on financial technology, healthcare, logistics and consumer technology startups—is leading the funding round along with DSG Consumer Partners, Bloomberg reported. The investors there include Ratan Tata's UC-RNY Fund, Matrix Partners India and Falcon Edge Capital.

Saverin however, will join the company’s board to work with it on upcoming expansions.

Mswipe, founded in 2011, provides different kinds of swiping machines that help receive payments through all kinds of cards, UPI payment, BHIM, Samsung Pay, etc., according to its website.