Mark Mobius, ah! Ventures invest in motorcycle-washing start-up
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Mumbai/Bengaluru: Entropy Innovations Pvt. Ltd, a start-up whose technology provides automated cleaning of two-wheelers, has raised an undisclosed sum as angel capital from the well-known investor Mark Mobius and ah! Ventures, a start-up focused on bringing investors for new business ventures.
Founded in 2013, Entropy Innovations is an engineering firm that has designed an automatic motorcycle wash machine called Express Bike Wash.
The company said that the machines are capable of washing even the dirtiest of motorcycles in 2-5 minutes as against the normal 30 minutes. Entropy also has stores under the name of The EBW Store and has catered to around 100,000 motorcycles over the past 18 months.
The angels from ah! Ventures, together with Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets and AdvantEdge Incubator, partnered to fund the start-up. The deal was advised and syndicated by ah! Ventures and led to closure on its private equity investment platform, CLUB ah!.
Mobius has invested in this venture in his personal capacity.
“Fifteen million new (motorcycles) were added nationally to the existing lot last year. A host of players offer wash-related products. However, there are barely any organized players for wash and related value-added services.Through The EBW Store, we wish to bridge this gap at an affordable price, faster service rate and with an ease of accessibility to the retail customers,” said Niraj Taksande, a co-founder of Entropy Innovations. “Our future plan is to empower all manual washing centres with an automated washing machine. Petrol pumps, malls, corporate parks, housing societies are the potential B2C (business to consumer) target areas,” he said.
Harshad Lahoti, founder and chief executive officer at ah! Ventures, hinted the deal involving Mobius is a prelude to larger investment play. He said information technology, mobile and cloud-app ventures are saturated and investors are largely looking at a blend of offline and online.
Lahoti said that Rajesh Sehgal, senior executive director, Templeton Emerging Markets, was the deal lead for the CLUB ah! platform, and that besides getting his friends to invest in the deal, Sehgal also helped rope in Mobius. “Entropy is conventional brick-and-mortar and yet scalable. The offering was an instant hit among CLUB ah! investors. This, backed with a large readily available addressable target market for its services and a highly competent IIT-IIM team with a clear vision to disrupt the current two-wheeler service industry dynamics, made Entropy an extremely favourable investment opportunity. These were most impressive qualities which our investors have loved,” he said.
Lahoti did not disclose the equity stake structure but hoped that this investment is attractive in terms of potential exit opportunities. ah! Ventures is in the process of closing three more investments in coming weeks.
Lahoti said his firm is concluding 4-8 deals a month. “We are keen on any disruptive technology start-up out there which is scalable,” he added.
Going forward, the Entropy team has identified the B2C segment lucrative enough for scaling up exponentially via a franchise model. “Our future plan is to empower all manual washing centres with an automated washing machine. Petrol pumps, malls, corporate parks, societies are potential B2C target areas. We see a huge potential in captive areas like petrol pumps,” said co-founder Jigar Vora.