Deep-tech Startup Chara Secures $4.75M in Pre-Series A Funding Led by Exfinity Venture Partners

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Chara Technologies - Founders Group
Chara Technologies - Founders Group

Chara, a deep-tech startup based in Bangalore, has secured a pre-series A funding round of $4.75 million, led by Exfinity Venture Partners. The Bengaluru-based venture capital firm, known for its focus on B2B and deep-tech investments, was joined in the round by Vietnam-based Big Capital, Bitexco’s venture arm, Log9 Materials, and existing investors Kalaari Capital and ciie.co.

Chara is addressing the need for an efficient and cost-effective solution to meet the growing demands of e-mobility, green supply chain and other electrification trends. They are developing a scalable, cloud-controlled platform that designs and builds electric motors without the use of rare-earth materials. The platform utilizes Chara’s proprietary Drive Control Firmware (DCF) which utilizes advanced motor control algorithms to optimize performance, efficiency, thermal management, and torque delivery. Using Model-Based Design (MBD), the DCF is able to enhance the performance of in-house designed Chara Motors. Recently, the company has raised $4.75M in pre-series A round led by Exfinity Venture Partners, a venture capital firm with a focus on B2B and deep-tech and participation from other investors.

Chara is working on specialized, patent-pending variations of established motor technologies such as SRM (Switched Reluctance Motor) and SynRM, as well as other magnet-free motor technologies to develop a range of “Made in India” electric motors. These motors are currently undergoing field testing and are expected to be available for production in the latter half of 2023.

The team at Chara, led by founders Bhaktha Keshavachar, Ravi Prasad Sharma, and Mahalingam Koushik, have extensive experience in product development and motor technology. The company was founded in November 2019, with support from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru. Their focus is on creating a specialized, patent-pending variation of the well-known SRM (Switched Reluctance Motor) and SynRM technologies and other magnet-free motor technologies, which will be based on “Make in India” principle and will be in production by the second half of 2023.

Chara has been actively developing motors for various applications, including 2-wheelers, light commercial vehicles, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These motors, along with their corresponding controllers, are currently undergoing field testing and are planned for production later this year. Additionally, the company has future projects in the pipeline to create motors and controllers for heavy commercial vehicles. The current range of motors produced by Chara spans from minimal kilowatts to tens of kilowatts and operates at voltage levels between 48V and 400V. Chara is also working on building motors for even higher voltages and power outputs in the future. The company has filed patents for the design, control, and algorithms of 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.”