Date Bike, a Vietnamese startup with the ambition to become the top electric motorbike company in Southeast Asia, has raised $ 2.6 million in pre-Series A funding led by Jungle Ventures. Manufactured in Vietnam with most domestic parts, the selling point of the stopper bike is its ability to compete with gas motorbikes in terms of pricing and performance. Its new funding marks the first time Jungle Ventures has invested in the mobility sector and includes the participation of Wavemaker Partners, Hustle Fund and Eyeside Ventures.
Founder and CEO Son Nguyen began learning how to make bikes from scrap parts while working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. In 2018, he moved back to Vietnam and launched Dat Bike. More than 80% of households in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam own two-wheelers, but most are filled with gas. Nguyen told ClearTips that many people want to switch to electric motorbikes, but one major hurdle is performance.
Nguyen said the date bike offers three times the performance (5 kW vs 1.5 kW) and 2 times the range (100 km vs 50 km) at the same price point as most electric motorbikes in the market. The company’s flagship motorbike, called the Weaver, was built to compete against gas motorbikes. It seats two, which Nguyen mentions is an important selling point in Southeast Asian countries, and has a 5000W motor that accelerates from 0 to 50 kmph in three seconds. The Weaver can be fully charged in about three hours at a standard electric outlet, and can reach 100 km on one charge (the next trip of a motorbike will go up to 200 km on one charge).
Dat Bike opened its first physical store in Ho Chi Minh City last December. Nguyen said the company has “shipped a few hundred motorbikes so far and still has a backlog of orders.” He said it saw a 35% month-on-month increase in new orders after the opening of the Ho Chi Minh City store.
At 39.9 million dong, or about $ 1,700 USD, the Weaver price is also equal to the average price of gas motorbikes. Dot Bike partners with banks and financial institutions offered consumers twelve-month payment plans at no interest.
“These people are competing with each other to bring Vietnam’s emerging middle class into the digital financial market for the first time and as a result we are getting very favorable rates,” he said.
While Vietnam’s government has not yet implemented subsidies for electric motorbikes, the Ministry of Transport has proposed new rules mandating electric infrastructure at parking and bike stations, which Nguyen said will increase the adoption of electric vehicles. Other Vietnamese companies producing electric two-wheel vehicles include Winfast and Pega.
One of the advantages of the stopper bike is that its bike is developed at home, with locally sourced parts. Nguyen said the benefits of manufacturing in Vietnam include streamlined logistics and a more efficient supply chain rather than sourcing from China and other countries, as most stop bike suppliers are also domestic.
Nguyen said, “There are also huge benefits to the tax for being local, as the import tax is 45% for bikes and 15% to 30% for bike parts.” “Trade within Southeast Asia however is tariff-free, meaning we have a competitive advantage in expanding the region, compared to foreign imported bikes.”
Date Bike plans to expand its supply chain in Southeast Asia over the next two to three years, with the help of investors such as Jungle Ventures.
In a statement, Jungle Ventures founder Amit Anand said, “The $ 25 billion two-wheeler industry is ripe for the benefit of new developments in electric vehicles and automation, particularly in Southeast Asia. We believe that the Dot Bike will lead this charge and create a new benchmark for the next generation of two-wheeler electric vehicles, not just in the region, and will perform as such. “