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Electric Scooter Manufacturer River Secures $40 Million in Funding from Yamaha for Product Development and Expansion

Bengaluru-based EV manufacturer River secures $40 million in Series B funding from Yamaha to support product development and expand its presence to 100 cities by 2026.

Bengaluru-based electric two-wheeler manufacturer, River, has successfully raised $40 million (INR 335 crore) in its Series B funding round. The funding was led by Japan's Yamaha Motor Corporation and involved participation from existing investors, including Al-Futtaim Automotive, Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, and Maniv Mobility.

Aravind Mani, the Co-founder and CEO of River, revealed that the primary use of these fresh funds will be to strengthen distribution networks, enhance research and development capabilities, and facilitate product development. River plans to introduce a new vehicle model by 2026, with preliminary stages of product development already underway. Additionally, the electric vehicle (EV) startup aims to expand its presence to 100 cities by that time.

Founded in March 2021 by Aravind Mani and Vipin George, River specializes in manufacturing multi-utility electric scooters. In February of the previous year, the company launched its first vehicle model, Indie, which became available for purchase in October 2023. River takes pride in designing and developing its products in-house, with an R&D facility in Bengaluru and a manufacturing facility on the city's outskirts.

As part of its expansion plan, River opened its first store in January 2024. Over the next 8-10 months, it intends to establish a presence in ten additional cities, including Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Surat, Pune, Kochi, and Trivandrum.

This recent funding round follows a previous one where River raised $15 million, led by Dubai's Al Futtaim Group. In total, River has secured $68 million (INR 565 crore) in funding since its inception.

Paul Willis, CEO of Al-Futtaim Automotive, expressed his optimism about River's future, stating, "Indie made a strong debut in the Indian market and stands out from anything that is out there. We also see strong potential for Indie in many international markets."

According to Vahan data, River registered approximately 92 electric vehicles in 2023, all achieved in the last three months of the year. The company is targeting 300 vehicle sales by March of this year.

With Yamaha's support, River intends to leverage the global automotive giant's design and technology capabilities. In a highly competitive market currently dominated by major players such as Ola Electric, TVS Motor, and Bajaj Auto, River's focus remains on building its fundamentals rather than solely aiming for a majority market share.

Despite the challenges faced in the electric scooter sector, especially with the FAME-II policy in 2022, India witnessed a 34% year-on-year growth in electric scooter registrations in 2023, surpassing the 8.5 lakh units mark.