Shark Tank India fame Revamp Moto wants to transform the gig economy. Deepti Thore caught up with the team to look at the commercial offerings.

Gig workforce is creating a new economic revolution globally and India is at the forefront of this revolution. Startups like Revamp Moto are driving this change. With an aim to transform the gig economy, and to give it a competitive edge. According to a study released by Niti Aayog in 2022, Gig and Platform Economy is booming in India and the gig workforce is expected to expand to 23.5 million workers by 2029-30. No wonder then, Revamp Moto committed to providing adaptive and sustainable solutions to the layer at the bottom of the pyramid. The attempt to empower the gig workers and move them from unorganised to organised sector is fructifying. Speaking about the shift, Pritesh Mahajan, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Revamp Moto said, “The motto of our company is bring about this shift from unorganised to organised in the gig economy. We want the gig workers to go beyond salaries and chase entrepreneurship that they might have dreamt of.”

Commercial offerings
Initially working with an idea to build an electric scooter after realising its potential in the market, the founders of Revamp Moto analysed the demand and the supply gap and saw a lot of players making a buzz in the segment. “We realised if we get into a scooter segment, we might end up running in a rat race where we might not have the deep pockets to compete with all these big brands,” expressed Mahajan. He further added, “We realised that we needed to pin and fix a niche, target it and work towards the objective.” The company then focused on the idea to make vehicles which will adapt to customer use case instead of the customers adapting to the vehicle as there were no such vehicles in the market during that point of time, he claimed. That is when the company started working on what they claim to be India’s first range of transformable EVs. “We did not want to focus on the cream layer but we wanted to focus on the bottom of the pyramid, which is actually going to make a difference,” Mahajan reiterated.

Empowering individuals to become self-sustained business owners, Revamp Moto introduced its transformable Electric Vehicle- RM Mitra. A flagship product in the high-speed electric two-wheeler segment. Aimed at providing a complete ecosystem to its consumers to help them start their own ‘Chalti phirti dukaan’ or a shop on wheels, the electric two-wheeler comes with the necessary attachments to offer a wide range of products and services to sell. Revamp Moto not only plans to provide the product but also offer financial support through various types of schemes in a push for the RM Mitra. Along with providing technical inputs, guidance on selling, and timely intel to help these micro entrepreneurs succeed, Revamps’ attachments offered on the Mitra could open new doors for various categories of the gig economy including farmers and delivery personnel.

Offering best-in-class payload capacity and range in a single charge, RM Mitra, as per the company claims, is the first vehicle in the Indian market whose battery works as a power house on wheels to power different appliances like a small refrigerator for cooling or heating, a mixer grinder, small oven and even tube lights or fan, with two power outputs of 220V and 12V respectively. Provided with portable batteries, RM Mitra can run at a maximum speed of 65 kmph.
Equipped with state-of-the-art telematics and a smart connected app., RM Mitra provides a centralised dashboard with live holistic information about the vehicle. The telematics unit enables live tracking, geo-fencing, remote locking or unlocking facilities, and the BMS collects 50+ real-time parameters from the vehicle, initiating preventive maintenance notifications sent to the smartphone.
Team Revamp Moto receiving their cheque from sharks Aman Gupta (extreme left) and Anupam Mittal (2nd from right) of Shark Tank India.

RM Buddy 25, a low speed Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) exempt vehicle launched in the Metaverse by Revamp Moto, is another vehicle on the offering from the company. Known as a ‘pocket rocket’, the vehicle is designed and developed to save user’s time by helping them pass through narrow as well dense areas, swiftly. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 25 kmph hence driving licence is not a mandate for ownership. Offered with a payload capacity of 120 kg, the vehicle can go up to 70 km on a single charge, claims the OEM. Powered with water-resistant portable batteries, the vehicle comes with an auto headlamp and dual suspension. Saddle bags, insulated box and carrier are offered as attachments for the vehicle. Made available in color options like billionaire blue, grand grey, royal red, oscar orange and wealthy white, the vehicle is equipped with smart connectivity features including vehicle dashboard showing rider score, smart charge assistant and geo-fencing. Both the vehicles have gone through a minimum of 10 iterations.

Certification and USPs
The low speed vehicle, RM Buddy has already attained the certification. “The high speed vehicle, RM Mitra has been sent to the authorities for homologation and we are expecting it over the next two to three months. It will be homologated,” highlighted Mahajan. The water-proof battery pack, on the other hand, developed by Revamp is one of their own IPs. “We have ensured that we have made an IP67 rated battery pack which is dust proof and waterproof and we have tried submerging it to one metre depth. We have tried submerging it for multiple hours and there is no water seepage,” he highlighted. The company is also working on the AIS standards.

Localisation and technical advancement
Talking about the batteries, Mahajan highlighted that Revamp has ensured adoption of the technology such that the battery packs will not go into a thermal runaway. “That is one achievement that we have made in the battery packs and we have already filed patents for the same,” he averred. The company is simultaneously working on multiple IPs, BMS and wiring harnesses. Majorly focused on building a product, Revamp is collaborating with other companies to co-design products and to ensure that whatever they build should sustain and survive in the market to actually help the customers that are buying the vehicles. “We are not mainly focused on just building the vertical integration of the technology in house because that is very company centric, we want to be society centric, we want to ensure that whatever we are building is also making a difference in the society,” he clarified.

The processes put in place by the company in the assembly line are sustainable, scalable and cost effective. Aiming to build a small batch of 150-200 vehicles in April 2023, the company is looking at splitting down this batch further into eight to 10 different batches again, considering and finding the optimum way of running an assembly line. Investing only a sizable amount of money in the assembly line, Revamp is ensuring that it can cater to around 1500-2000 vehicles a month which would be ~25,000-30,000 vehicles annually. The company also plans to install a fully automated assembly line in future which will require an investment 10 times higher than the current one. It plans to adopt Industry 4.0 technology to optimise the entire assembly line and operations. It also plans to shift to a bigger facility. The current facility is spread across 50,000 sq. ft.

Challenges and Opportunities
Co-founded by Pritesh Mahajan, Pushkaraj Salunkhe and Jayesh Tope in September 2020, Revamp took to fame after getting featured in Shark Tank India season one in December 2021. Becoming the highest funded startup of the season, Revamp Moto received tremendous response from the industry showing interest in both, their low-speed and high-speed vehicle on the website. The platform gave them the desired validation, recognition and the pathway to B2B clients including big names in the e-Commerce Industry, food delivery, or even grocery delivery industry. In addition to this, Revamp has recently won the prestigious National Startup Award 2022.

Offering vehicles under the ‘Mudra finance’ scheme by the government, the company plans to finance the vehicle along with the attachment and also aims at giving some seed capital for all individuals to start their own businesses. “We at Revamp we will not only be selling just electric vehicles, but we will also be empowering the society,” said Mahajan. “We will also try to support the society and the ecosystem by generating more job opportunities and creating more micro entrepreneurs or even tying up with B2B clients and giving the pathway to all the walk-in customers at our showrooms,” he added further.
Speaking about the challenges faced during the initial phase of setup, Mahajan cited the phase of building a team and to make it believe in their vision. “When we were on Shark Tank, we were a team of around 14 people and right now we have scaled the team to 42-45 people,” stated Mahajan. The company plans to expand the team size further to around 92-100 people. Another challenge which the company faced was the infrastructure because they are based in a tier 2 city of Nashik, Maharashtra, where the infrastructure is limited. Being on a drivable distance to two major metro cities, Mumbai and Pune is an advantage, admitted Mahajan. Travelling from Nashik to another point occupies a lot of time, quipped Mahajan as he drew attention to the basic infrastructure of Nashik as being not ideal for supporting startups like itself. There are no strong local vendors. Lack of funds was also an issue. While on Shark Tank India, the company was surviving on loans, and they did not have funds to even pay their employees. In terms of technology, specifically designed and developed components were required but the vendors were not pretty confident to take bets on an emerging startup, shared Mahajan. “One year down the line, scaling up could also be our problem area,” outlined Mahajan.

Funds and Profits
Raising two crore as investment from the sharks (judges) from the Shark Tank India, Revamp acquired an additional Rs.5.7 crore from Angel Investors and from venture capital funds. “Now we are raising another USD 4-5 mn,” revealed Mahajan. The funds will be split between equity acquiring the major chunk and then a smaller part will be in to repay debt and to finance or working capital. Majorly focused on being a revenue and profit driven company, Revamp Moto aims at driving business instead of just funding through business. “From next month we are actually starting our sales and we are also setting up dealership networks,” he elaborated. With a focus on four states, the company is going pan India in terms of distribution.

Looking at a path to profitability in the next 18-24 months, the company is working on a business model charted in manner to avoid losses. Working on a net-net basis, the company is not in a lot of losses and is not even profitable right now as per Mahajan. “Initial one and a half year we might have to pour some money from our pockets into the market,” Mahajan affirmed. This money would majorly be focused on acquiring the customers, providing good service networks and also keeping our partners or dealers happy. “Post two years we might get to a breakeven point and we will turn profitable,” he opined.

Future roadmap
Both the low speed and the high speed vehicles have gone through a minimum of 10 iterations to ensure that the vehicle does not fail on road. Even if it breaks down in the middle of the road, it will not be fatal for anyone. The low speed vehicle, RM Buddy 25 is set to launch already and about to get into production. “We are going to deliver these vehicles from the first week of May,” announced Mahajan. There are a couple of products which are in the pipeline and have emerged from these existing two products as well. The company aims to enter the three-wheeler and four-wheeler category in the future on similar lines. “We don’t want to get in the passenger or goods carrying category but want to focus on the utility category where vehicles will be customisable or transformable  under a minute.” The company is currently focused only on the two-wheeler segment with a vision of making platforms or product line which are modular.

Revamp has recently partnered with Panache Digilife for contract assembling. The facility is located in Bhiwandi, Mumbai with a capacity of assembling 1.5 lakh units annually. Revamp has also partnered with MyTVS and ReadyAssist for after sales service and roadside assistance. Revamp has also signed a deal with Koshar Climate on generating carbon credits, which would be a significant source of revenue going forward for the company. In terms of global expansion, the company has already started talking to a couple of players in the African market, European market, the US and the UK. There are multiple inquiries from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, a couple of them even from Pakistan. “India being such a big nation to cater to, I would say after one and a half or two years, we will not even have the bandwidth to think about going to any other country,” he mentioned. The company plans to scale up to African regions in the future because the African market is similar to the Indian market. “We have already been to Africa to ensure that whatever we are building, it will survive and we have got good validation from the African market as well,” he added.  The company is also in talks with the World Trade Centres for a scale up and the decision to foray rests on the path to profitability.
In terms of scaling up pan India, the company plans to do it in four phases. In phase one, they will expand to four states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa. Maharashtra being the home state for the company and all the other states either are pretty accessible, nearby to them in terms of operations and in terms of support or after sales support. Also there is a good amount of demand. “Bengaluru in the state of Karnataka specifically, is a very big market for EVs,” Mahajan agreed. Phase one will include expansion to 15-20 cities, with phase two extending to 50-60 cities, phase three around 100-120 cities,. The phase wise execution will be six months apart from each other. Highlighting funding as one of the major challenges, Mahajan mentioned that fundings have dried up but it is not completely out of the game. “Providing services and ensuring that whatever vehicles that we are going to offload in the markets, they are actually making a difference in someone’s life,” is what keeps Revamp going, he concluded.

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