EV startups attract investments, talent as others struggle
Companies in the electric vehicle (EV) space are a complete outlier even as the startup sector in general is facing a hiring and funding slowdown.
With India’s push towards sustainability and clean energy, EV startups are attracting investments to fund their expansion plans, including workforce ramp-up, at least half a dozen experts at startups and recruitment services firms told ET. As a result, they have bullish hiring and funding plans lined up for the year ahead.
Profiles in demand include embedded systems engineers, lithium-ion battery modelling experts, market analysts, data scientists, public affairs executives and experts for hub operations, charging operations, chauffeur operations, vehicle monitoring, data management, tech, analytics and reporting.
Lohum, a lithium-ion battery recycling company, is looking to add more than 200 people to its existing headcount of 600. “We are hiring specialists in materials science, chemicals, battery materials, and renewable energy research,” said Shalini Rath, vice president-HR.
As most of these are roles that did not exist in India, companies including Lohum are forced to look for talent outside India.
Headquartered in Kolkata, Snap E Cabs, which provides a public electric transport service, has 500 cars and is adding another 500 to its fleet within FY 24. As a result, the company is looking at hiring 100-150 people in the next year.
“Since EV as a sector is very new, finding good talent with experience is quite challenging at times,” said Mayank Bindal, founder & CEO, Snap E Cabs.
HOP Electric Mobility is hiring for verticals like design, engineering, battery, cell and research & development cofounder & CEO Ketan Mehta said. It currently has a headcount of 150 people.
HOP Electric had closed a strategic round of $2.6 million in May last year as part of an ongoing $10 million pre-series fundraising programme.
Omega Seiki Mobility has about 750 people and will be doubling the team within next year, said chief HR officer Nida Khanam.
The startup is planning to raise $100 million to scale up production and reach in the next couple of months. “Company would raise $50 million each through debt and equity from PE funds and impact investors,” said Khanam. It is expecting to complete raising the funds, from both domestic and international investors, by the end of 2023.
Battery Smart is hiring to ramp up its presence to over 30 cities and is scouting for talent ranging from operations head, programme managers and finance managers.
The company, which has a headcount of more than 300, has raised a total of $65 million in three rounds, said cofounder Pulkit Khurana.
EV startups are mostly hiring in areas like battery management system, components development, tech and supply chain, according to Amol Gangaramany, partner at recruitment services firm ABC Consultants.
“EV startups have almost doubled their headcount over last year. Currently, they are looking to grow their fleet by 3X and adding more manufacturing facilities. The headcount would simply be 2x over the next 12 months,” said Neha Jain, regional director, Page Group India.
Amid a not-so-favourable investor market, the EV ecosystem is a shining light with around $982 million invested in pureplay EV OEM startups, said Jain.