Vietnamese electric motorbike startup Dat Bike raises $2.6M led by Jungle Ventures
Son Nguyen, founder and managing director of Dat Bike, on one of the startups' motorcycles
Son Nguyen, founder and managing director of Dat Bike
Dat Bike, a Vietnamese startup aiming to become the leading electric motorcycle company in Southeast Asia, has raised $ 2.6 million in Pre-Series A funding led by Jungle Ventures. Dat Bike's selling point is its ability to compete with gas motorcycles in terms of pricing and performance. The new funding marks the first time Jungle Ventures has invested in the mobility sector and includes participation from Wavemaker Partners, Hustle Fund and iSeed Ventures.
Founder and CEO Son Nguyen started out as a software engineer in Silicon Valley to learn how to build bicycles from scrap parts. In 2018 he moved back to Vietnam and started Dat Bike. More than 80% of households in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam own two-wheelers, but the majority run on gas. Nguyen told TechCrunch that a lot of people want to switch to electric motorcycles, but one big stumbling block is performance.
According to Nguyen, Dat Bike offers three times the power (5 kW versus 1.5 kW) and twice the range (100 km versus 50 km) of most electric motorcycles on the market for the same price. The company's flagship, Weaver, was designed to compete against gas motorcycles. It can accommodate two people, which Nguyen says is a major selling point in Southeast Asian countries, and has a 5000 W motor that accelerates from 0 to 50 km / h in three seconds. The Weaver can be fully charged in around three hours from a standard electrical outlet and can go up to 100 km on one charge (the next iteration of the motorcycle will take up to 200 km on one charge).
Dat Bike opened its first store in Ho Chi Minh City last December. Nguyen said the company has "shipped a few hundred bikes so far and still has an order book." He added that after the store opened in Ho Chi Minh City, orders were up 35% compared to the previous month.
At 39.9 million dong, or around $ 1,700, Weaver's price is also comparable to the average price for gas motorcycles. Dat Bike works with banks and financial institutions to offer consumers twelve month payment plans with no interest.
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"These people are competing with each other to bring Vietnam's rising middle class to the digital financial market for the first time, and as a result, we are getting a very affordable price," he said.
While the Vietnamese government has not yet introduced subsidies for electric motorcycles, the Ministry of Transport has proposed new regulations that will mandate the electrical infrastructure in parking lots and bike stations. Nguyen said this will increase the adoption of electric vehicles. Other Vietnamese companies that manufacture two-wheel electric vehicles are VinFast and PEGA.
One of the advantages of Dat Bike is that the bikes are developed in-house with parts from the region. According to Nguyen, the advantages of manufacturing in Vietnam instead of sourcing from China and other countries include optimized logistics and a more efficient supply chain, as most of Dat Bike's suppliers are also domestic.
"There are also huge tax advantages when you are there, as the import tax on bicycles is 45% and bicycle parts between 15% and 30%," said Nguyen. "However, trade within Southeast Asia is duty-free, which means we have a competitive advantage over foreign imported bicycles to expand into the region."
Dat Bike plans to expand its supply chain in Southeast Asia over the next two to three years with the help of investors like Jungle Ventures.
In a statement, Jungle Ventures founding partner Amit Anand said, “The $ 25 billion two-wheeler industry in Southeast Asia in particular is ripe to take advantage of new developments in electric vehicles and automation. We believe Dat Bike will lead this fee and set a new benchmark not just in the region but possibly worldwide of how the next generation of two-wheel electric vehicles will look and function. "
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