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Tarun Mehta, Swapnil Jain, 31,31

co-founders, Ather Energy

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In March this year, the eight-year-old e-scooter maker hit a definitive milestone—positive gross margins. With an aim of 20% margin in the next two years, the Bengaluru-based startup is only gunning the throttle. It forayed north in April, setting up 10 public fast-charging points across key hotspots in Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, and Ghaziabad, expanding its presence to more than 18 cities. Its new factory in Tamil Nadu is geared to roll out one e-scooter every four minutes. It has a war chest of ₹635 crore for the next five years, having raised $35 million last November in a funding round led by Hero MotoCorp and Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal. Mehta and Jain, batchmates at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, set up Ather with one idea—electric vehicles should be an upgrade, not a compromise. The duo says one of their biggest learnings has been the realisation that India is not necessarily a cost-conscious market, that people fundamentally want a product they can be proud of. And Ather’s strong e-scooter sales, despite costing almost 50% more than rivals’, is a testament to the fact that a great product always sells.

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