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Yamaha Motor backs Indian EV Startup - River Raises $40M in Series B Funding

River, a Bengaluru-based startup announces a $40 million Series B funding by the Japanese automotive giant Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. The startu...

River, a Bengaluru-based startup announces a $40 million Series B funding by the Japanese automotive giant Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. The startup launched off it's very first flagship multi-utilitarian electric scooter, called Indie, last year.

The Series B funding also had existing investors, Al-Futtaim Automotive, Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, and Maniv Mobility, participated in the round. River debuted its inaugural product, Indie, touted as the SUV of scooters, in October 2023. The funding of $40 million translates to the tune of 335 Crores in Indian currency.

While the scooter was entirely conceived and developed at the River R&D facility in the heart of the Silicon city Bengaluru, the brand new manufacturing plant is located around Hoskote on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Marking its presence, the first River store opened in Bangalore in January 2024.

Speaking at the occasion, Hajime Jim Aota, Chief General Manager of New Business Development Centre, Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd, said,

We are impressed by the progress that River has achieved in such a short period, especially with the strong focus on design and technology. We are excited about the conviction that Aravind and Vipin have for River and how Yamaha can support the company to achieve this.

Aravind Mani, Co-founder and CEO of River.

The investment is a significant boost for our plan to build a Billion dollar global utility-lifestyle brand by 2030. We have built a great base in R&D and manufacturing over the last two years and now, it’s time to grow.

Ever since it was conceived, River has so far garnered $68 Million (equaling to 565 INR Crores) of cumulative funding time-to-time, marking the trajectory of its growth.

River outlines strategic plans to expand its distribution and service network across India in light of this funding. Additionally, the company aims to allocate resources to further Research and Development initiatives, focusing on enhancing its product lineup for the future. The funding positions River for an ambitious phase of scaling and innovation, solidifying its presence in the Indian market.

Investors Express Confidence and International Potential

Paul Willis, CEO of Al-Futtaim Automotive, expresses satisfaction in witnessing River’s growth journey since their initial investment in 2023. Recognizing River’s distinctive presence in the Indian market, Willis emphasizes the company’s unique position. Investors, including Tel Aviv-based Maniv Mobility, San Francisco-based Trucks VC, Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, and Dubai-based conglomerate Al-Futtaim Automotive, collectively see substantial potential for River both within India and beyond.

River’s Global Expansion Outlook

River’s impressive funding round signifies more than just financial backing; it symbolizes a vote of confidence in the company’s potential for global expansion. The management is keen on leveraging this support to strengthen River’s footprint within India and explore opportunities in international markets. As the first Indian investment for all its backers, River has captured the attention and endorsement of a diverse set of prominent global investors.

Strategic Partnerships and Future Growth

With backing from a diverse range of global investors, River is strategically positioned for its next phase of growth. The company’s commitment to scaling distribution, service, and R&D aligns with its broader vision. The infusion of funds not only empowers River’s immediate expansion plans but also sets the stage for continued innovation and success on both local and international fronts. 

River is set to unveil a new vehicle model in 2026, with the early phases of product development already underway. Additionally, the EV startup has ambitious plans to extend its reach to 100 cities by the same year. As per Vahan data, River’s EV registration number stood at around 92 units in 2023, which it achieved in the last three months. The EV manufacturer is aiming to achieve 300 units of vehicle sales by March this year.

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