Venkatesh Padmanabhan, the chief operating officer (COO) of home-grown smart electric scooter maker Ather Energy, has quit the company.
Ather Energy who appointed former Royal Enfield CEO Padmanabhan as its chief operating officer seven months ago termed his exit as for personal reasons. He was heading supply chain, quality, manufacturing, and service delivery at the IIT Madras- incubated startup.
He will continue to advise Ather Energy on supplier relations, manufacturing and also help in finding a suitable replacement, reports ET.
In his earlier stints, Padmanabhan was the chief operating officer between 2008-2011 and chief executive between 2011-2013 at Royal Enfield. He has also spent 15 years at General Motors and four and half years at Daimler Chrysler in its Chrysler Division and then Mercedes Car Division.
The development could be crucial for the electric vehicle startup, which is aiming to open bookings for its first electric scooters S340 in India by early this year.
Founded in the year 2013 by Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, Ather Energy is developing the electric two-wheeler S340, which they claim will be completely designed and made in India.
The firm itself has invested over Rs 100 crore in the development of the product and has received funding from a few marquee investors, such as Hero MotoCorp, Tiger Global and Flipkart founders.
In May 2015, it had raised $12 million in funding from Tiger Global for the development, testing, production, and launch of the Ather S340 . And earlier, in 2014, Flipkart founders Sachin and Binny Bansal had invested $1 million in the startup.
Ather received Rs 180 crore in its third round of funding from country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp in late 2016. In exchange, Hero had picked 26-30 per cent stake in the company.
The Gujarat-based Yo Bykes has pioneered the electric scooter in India. Other entrants in the space include Hero RNT Diesel Hybrid Scooter, Hero Splendor iSmart, Hero Leap, Mahindra GenZe, TVS Qube and Hyosung ST-E3 EVA.
Meanwhile, TVS Motor is developing an electric scooter code-named U218 in, in order to compete in the category with players like Yamaha, Bajaj Auto, Mahindra 2 Wheelers, which are all set to launch electric two-wheelers in 2018.
Last month, TVS acquired a minority stake of 14.78 per cent in Bengaluru-based Ultraviolette Automotive, a startup working on electric two-wheelers and energy infrastructure.