Chara-A deep-tech startup raises $4.75 M pre-series A round led by Exfinity Venture partners

January 17, 2023
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17th January 2022. Bangalore: Chara, a Bangalore-based deep-tech start-up, has raised a pre-series A round of $4.75M led by Exfinity Venture Partners, a Bengaluru-based VC firm known for its B2B focus and deep-tech expertise. This round also had participation from Vietnam-based Big Capital, the venture arm of Bitexco and Log9 Materials. Kalaari Capital and who are existing investors participated in this round as well.

There has been a global shift towards e-mobility, greenification of the supply chain and other electrification trends. The existing motor technologies which were designed about a century back need a major overhaul to meet these emerging needs in an efficient and cost-effective manner. To this end, Chara is building a scalable, cloud-controlled, and rare-earth free platform for designing, building, and deploying electric motors for EV, HVAC and various other applications. Chara’s proprietary Drive Control FIrmware (DCF) is the brain of our motor controller. DCF is a suite of packages consisting of advanced motor control algorithms at its core. The state-of-the-art motor control algorithms are developed to extract maximum performance from in-house designed Chara Motors. Using Model-Based Design (MBD), DCF gives peak motor performance while ensuring optimum efficiency, thermal management and smooth, ripple-free torque delivery.

The motors will be based on a specialized patent-pending variation of the well-known SRM (Switched Reluctance Motor) and SynRM technologies and other magnet-free motor technologies. These ‘Make in India’ motors are currently being field-tested and will be in production in the second half of 2023.

Chara was founded in November 2019 by Bhaktha Keshavachar, Ravi Prasad Sharma, and Mahalingam Koushik. The founders are serial entrepreneurs, veteran product experts, and motor technologists with decades of experience developing cutting-edge products and technologies. The Chara story began with an initial grant from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

So far, Chara has built motors for 2-Wheeler (hub and mid-mount), 3 & 4-Wheeler LCVs and HVAC use cases. The motors and their matching controllers are being field tested and are expected to go into production later this year. Chara also has several projects lined up to build motors and controllers for heavy commercial vehicles. Chara’s current motor range starts from fractional kW to 10’s of kW with voltage ranges from 48V to 400V. Higher voltages and powers will be built in the near future. Chara has filed patents in Motor design, controller design and Control algorithms for these Motor technologies.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Bhaktha Keshavachar, Founder & CEO, of Chara Technologies, said At Chara, we pride ourselves in being disruptors and 2023 is going to be a year of realizing our electric dreams. We're working towards turning the current motor tech on its head, doing away with inefficient and rare-earth-dependent practices. We are building rare-earth-free, hyper-efficient, cost-effective, intelligent motors and controllers for EV, HVAC, and other industries. We are very excited to work with Exfinity, BigCapital, Log9, Kalaari, and CIIE to bring cutting-edge technology to OEMs in India and in the future to the world.”

Speaking on the fund raised, Mr Chinnu Senthilkumar, Managing Partner at  Exfinity said "To build SRM/Hybrid version of SRM motors, an interdisciplinary team with backgrounds in Electro-mechanical, power electronics and software domains is a must. We found that the Chara founding team is exemplary in this regard. Exfinity strongly believes that the EV story for South Asia & similar markets has to be contextualized and not replicated from the US and European markets. After our earlier investment in Log 9 Materials, Chara is part of our continued belief in this thesis. Chara Motors is also a great example for Atmanirbhar Bharat as it delinks the permanent magnet supply chain dependency from China and other countries."

Speaking on the investment, Mr Preetinder Singh Panjrath, CFO - of BIG Capital, said “BIG Capital continues to support innovative technologies that will power the world of the future. As part of our commitment to environmentally friendly solution for land and aerospace markets, we were especially attracted to Chara motors with the focus on rare earth-free electric motors that are safer for the planet, more cost-efficient and offers better efficiency compared to legacy solutions. We are delighted to be part of Chara motor's journey to not only power the EV and Power Market but also do so in an environmentally responsible way.”

Speaking on his continued interest and investment, Mr Ravinder Singh, Partner at Kalaari, said “Chara is a remarkable global deeptech institution in making, with a rare practical approach to paint the civilization’s future which is rare-earth free and geo-political neutral.”

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