DeepTech Startup Chara Raises $4.75 Mn Pre-Series A Round

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, venture arm of Bitexco and Log9 Materials. Kalaari Capital and ciie.co who are existing investors participated in this round as well.

Globally, there has been a move toward e-mobility, the greening of supply chains, and other electrification trends. To satisfy these new needs effectively and affordably, the existing motor technologies, which were created around a century ago, require a significant redesign. Chara is creating a scalable, cloud-controlled, and rare-earth free platform for designing, manufacturing, and deploying electric motors for EV, HVAC, and several other applications in order to achieve this. Our motor controller’s brain is powered by Drive Control Firmware (DCF), a Chara exclusive. Advanced motor control algorithms make up the core of the DCF package collection.

Modern motor control algorithms are created to maximise the performance of Chara Motors that were internally constructed. Peak motor performance is achieved using Model-Based Design (MBD), which also ensures optimal efficiency, effective thermal management, and smooth, ripple-free torque delivery.

The well-known SynRM and SRM (Switched Reluctance Motor) technologies, as well as other magnet-free motor technologies, will constitute the foundation of the motors. A particular patent application for this variation is now pending. The second half of 2023 will see the introduction of these “Make in India” motors, which are now undergoing field testing.

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 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 its 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, Bhaktha Keshavachar, Founder & CEO, 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, 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, Preetinder Singh Panjrath, CFO – 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 the legacy solutions. We are delighted to be part of Chara motors journey to not only power the EV and Power Market but also do so in an environmentally responsible way.”

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