Chara, a Bangalore-based deep-tech startup, has raised seed round of $850k led by Kalaari Capital, one of India’s leading VC firms, with participation from CIIE.CO, the Innovation Continuum for the Changemakers, based out of IIM Ahmedabad, known for funding ventures with disruptive solutions.
The startup was initially supported by a grant from the Indian Institute of Science. Founded in November 2019 by Bhaktha Keshavachar, Ravi Prasad Sharma, and Mahalingam Koushik, Chara is building a scalable, cloud-controlled, and rare-earth free platform for designing, building, and deploying electric motors for various applications. The motors will be based on a variation of the well-known Switched Reluctance Motor technology and other magnet-free motor technologies. It aims towards building transformative technology that will make the prime-mover of the future simpler, smarter, more efficient, and easy-to-build in the long run.
The world is transitioning from a hydrocarbon-based energy economy to an electron-based energy economy, giving rise to the birth of new technologies, opportunities, and challenges. With rare-earth free motor technology, the company aims to bring innovative solutions into a century-old industry. The company currently has a large customer signed up for HVAC Applications, and multiple customers in the EV, home appliances, and defence space are in the pipeline.
The founders are veteran serial entrepreneurs, product experts, and motor technologists with more than eight decades of experience developing cutting-edge products and technologies. Chara is bringing transformative motor technology to the forefront of commercial applications. The company aims to make deep fissures in the extant hydrocarbon and rare-earth-based energy economy to create a greener electron.
Commenting on the deal, Mr. Bhaktha Keshavachar, Founder & CEO, Chara Technologies, said “We are very excited to be partnered with Kalaari and CIIE.CO who have deep experience in supporting and nurturing deep-tech ventures. Interest from consumers cutting across industries has been very encouraging. The funds will be primarily used to drive the R&D to build and deliver finished products for signed up and new customers. The goal is to build a deep-tech company from India whose products will be deployed all over the world.”
Speaking on the fund raised, Mr. Ravinder Singh, Venture Partner, Kalaari Capital said “Electric motors in use today are based on the scientific breakthroughs of the 1800s, with incremental advancements post that. There is an opportunity to build a tech-enabled, next-gen electric motor. There are significant tailwinds propelling this shift. First, industries are moving away from oil-based to electricity-based energy sources, requiring innovation across components. Second, the geopolitical situation with China requires manufacturers to localize the supply chains. This is unachievable with the current motor designs. Finally, advancements in processing power and algorithms are now making it possible to leverage software (controller) to control the hardware (motor). Chara is riding this wave. When we met the team, their curiosity, passion, and deep experience became very clear. We are excited by this partnership and the potential disruption Chara will create in the fabric of global industries. Kalaari is committed to supporting Indian entrepreneurs building Deeptech innovations.”
Speaking on the investment, Mr. Chintan Antani, AVP – Seed Investing, CIIE.CO, said “Electric motor innovation is key for the next phase of the industrial revolution as they are the heart of any mechanical device we use today. Chara is building intelligent & efficient motors for an untapped global market with a wide range of applications. Using their vast experience, deep tech knowledge Chara is positioned to become a world-class deep tech company. We are excited to be a part of their journey.