Building platform for electric vehicle ecosystem in India

Telematics Wire in discussion with Vikas Gupta, Founder & Managing Director at Sampoorn EV tries to understand the opportunity in creating a B2B platform for startups in electric two wheeler manufacturing. Sampoorn EV is building a platform where very small and tiny players could help or benefit from an exclusive electric two wheeler B2B platform.

Q: To begin with, like after having spent about two and a half decades in finance and accounts, what motivated you to launch a startup in electric mobility?

It was by chance I entered EV segment. About five and years back, one of my client was keen to move into electric vehicle segment, who ultimately convinced me to jointly launch a startup, E-Ashwa Automotive. Thereafter, I started getting interested in this field and today I get no excitement in the accounting and the compliance work. Its EV wherein I get lot of motivation to work.

Q: What is Sampoorn EV platform?

We are trying to build a platform like Amazon, which is a marketplace for anything and everything. Amazon is too big in size and we can’t be Amazon in 5-10 years even from now. We have our own mobile application called Sampoorn EV app.

We want to create a marketplace only for the EV industry. Anything and everything within the EV would be catered by Sampoorn EV platform. Next, as our product segment is such that unless and until you get to touch, feel and experience it, you will not be in a position to buy it. So, besides virtual presence, we have physical marketplace. The leads generated by our app gets executed with the help of the physical stores, that we have all over the country.

Sampoorn EV supports all the EV players at any and every layer where they get stuck.

We have segmented the EV ecosystem into eight pillars. First pillar is the OEM segment wherein you will have to take the approval and follow the compliances. Second pillar is import. Irrespective of whosoever says anything, this industry is still dependent on import. Third pillar is inventory, wherein you invest in components, materials etc sourced locally. Fourth pillar is distribution, which we have divided into two parts, state-level distribution and district-level distribution. Next pillar is dealership. where we have three types of dealers- mega, mini and micro showroom. Sixth pillar is service and support system. Seventh pillar is scrap management. The last pillar is support system, which includes the finance, the insurance, etc. Suppose, you are wish import a part. We will connect you with right supplier and vice-a-versa. We will provide hand-holding and support at both the ends of each of these pillars.

Q: You talked about stores all over the country. Is it operated by your partners or are you opening your own store?

So all these stores that we are opening are exclusive Sampoorn EV stores, but we do not have our own product. We are basically partnering with various OEM’s to sell their product, but we are not a pure multi-brand seller. We are helping our partners in the entire ecosystem wherever they get stuck.

Q: How many stores are there in India right now?

We started our operations in May 2023. Currently, we have 20 stores. If I go by my experience with my previous startup, E- Ashwa Automotive, where in the first year, we had 10 stores. In the second year, we opened 90 more stores. Thereafter, we were signing 100 stores in a month. Initial 10-20 stores are the most difficult one to set up and thereafter there can be exponential growth.

Q: How has been the response to your app?

Sampoorn EV app is a new thing in the market. It will take some time for people to get adjusted to that kind of new feature which is being introduced by us. We are very hopeful that it will start picking up fast and in another year or so.

Q: Are you also bringing manufacturers, resellers, distributors, experts and technical consultants on this platform?

So we rely on the design and development capabilities of our partners. We do not want to enter into the field of design and development of the product or taking the approvals for the product. It is very strategic to us. We want to focus on the sales, service and support at this point of time.

Because, presently we are in a consolidation stage, where 1000 plus companies are going to be consolidated to jus 20 to 30 companies. And we do not want to miss this train at this point in time. We want to ride on this train at least to become the 30th player, of the 30 players which will survive. And once we are in place on this train, we will then focus on taking a leap jump into the top 10 players. That’s the strategy we have.

Q: So we going to see many company perish or will be mergers & acquisitions?

I will answer this question with few data points. If you see the data which is available for electric two wheeler with Vahan forfor last 8 months, you will find there are about 142 players which are available in the market who have at least registered one vehicle in the last 8 months. Out of those 142 players, top 10 players contribute 90 to 92% of the total sales. And then the next 10 players contribute to the extent of about 5 to 7% of the total sales and the next 10 players contribute just 1 to 2%. Balance 112 players contribute just 1 to 2% of the total sales. Now this 1 to 2% is as high as 50 vehicles per month and as low as one vehicle per month or maybe zero vehicle per month.

How long would these 112 players survive? They can’t survive. They are operating like a dealer. An OEM can’t survive when they are operating like a dealer, so they will ultimately die down. Now, they have two choices. First one is to close down. Second is to onboard a platform like Sampoorn EV which is welcoming all these players so that together we can survive, together we can grow. Third choice is to merge with large player, but it will not be easy.

Q:  Do you have any suggestion on policy and regulatory frameworks for EV industry?

If you see all the policies of the government irrespective of whether it is FAME from central government or the policy of state government, they all are providing financial aid to the end user/buyer. FAME2 is also aiding end user. State government policy, whether exemption from road tax, registration etc is for the end user only. Government can look into helping the small players sustain or survive through some assistance or subsidy.

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