BP Ventures, the investing arm of British oil and gas giant BP has made its first direct investment in India. The oil and gas behemoth has announced $13 million investment in integrated electric vehicles (EV) ride-hailing and charging company BluSmart. It led a $25 million Series A round that also saw support from Mayfield India Fund, 9Unicorns and Survam Partners, alongside other existing investors.
One of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, the London-based group is now moving towards the clean energy and out of oil and gas space and hence, the entry in India is an important milestone.
Low carbon technologies need of the hour in India
India is now the third-largest startup market globally and its GDP is projected to be the world’s third largest by 2030. Yet with 35 of the top 50 most polluted cities globally, there’s a huge need for low carbon technologies to help make that growth compatible with its climate ambitions. The industry is forecast to grow significantly, with mobility as a service projected to make up 15% of the 1.1 trillion kilometres to be travelled by passenger vehicles in India by 2030, compared to 5% of the 477 billion kilometres travelled today.
Delivering cleaner, sustainable mobility
BluSmart is India’s first and largest integrated EV ride-hailing and charging company, and aims to deliver safer, cleaner and more sustainable mobility. With an objective to transform ride hailing in the country, it is the first service of its kind with no surge pricing or rides rejected by drivers.
Safety and cleanliness are paramount in the Indian market, and customers can view the last time each car was sanitised and driver vaccination status via the BluSmart app. The company also removes the financial burden of vehicle ownership by leasing vehicles to drivers and oversees all vehicle maintenance, to help reduce driver stress. The business is growing quickly in Delhi NCR, which represents 20% of India’s mobility market, which BluSmart estimate has already saved over approximately 1,500 tonnes of CO2, with more than 650,000 passenger trips completed to date.
EV fleet expansion beyond Delhi
BluSmart will use the capital to expand its fleet of EV and charging stations from its home city of Delhi to five additional Indian cities in the next two years. The investment will help bp move towards becoming a leader in India’s mobility market, and to provide integrated energy and mobility solutions to help customers reduce their emissions across the world.
Electric mobility revolution
Richard Bartlett, SVP future mobility & solutions, said: “The electric mobility revolution will have a huge impact in reducing vehicle emissions in cities, which in India are growing quickly. BluSmart’s business model solves a number of key barriers to urban EV ride-hailing take-up, from the cost for drivers to the quality of customer experience. Our partnership is underpinned by shared values; caring for customers, colleagues and the environment, and with safety at the core of everything we do. We are excited to have made our first direct investment in India, to grow alongside the BluSmart business.”
Transforming India’s high-polluting cities
Anmol Singh Jaggi, co-founder of BluSmart, added: “We believe that electric mobility has huge growth potential, driven in part by the increasingly favourable economics behind electric vehicles. With that in mind we want to redefine ride-hailing with electric vehicles, and our consumer focus has helped us to already establish a strong brand presence in our core market; to date our vehicles have travelled over 21 million kilometres. This latest funding infusion will help us grow as we work with bp to help transform India’s high-polluting cities and redefine ride-hailing with electric vehicles.”
Sophia Nadur, managing partner at bp ventures, will join BluSmart’s board. To date, bp ventures has invested almost $800m in more than 60 companies across seven geographies. Recently, the company invested $7 million in IoTecha, a smart EV charging company that connects chargers with the electricity grid using IoT and Ryd, a German in-car digital payments provider.