Dat Bike is on a mission to lessen Vietnam’s reliance on gasoline. To minimise costs and increase performance, the firm manufactures electric motorcycles using critical components that it designs and manufactures in-house. Dat Bike today announced a $5.3M Series A round led by Jungle Ventures, with participation from Wavemaker Partners.
Bikes built to rule Southeast Asia
This takes the company’s total funding since inception to $10M. The new round of funding will be used by Dat Bike to invest in technology, increase production, expand to metro and Tier 1 cities across North, Central, and South Vietnam, and attract top talent.
Son Nguyen, the company’s founder and CEO, began studying how to make bikes from scrap parts while working as a software developer in Silicon Valley. In 2018, he returned to Vietnam and founded Dat Bike in 2019.
In 2019, Dat Bike started making a huge impression among Vietnam consumers while participating in the reality show Shark Tank Vietnam Season 3.
The Vietnam Ministry of Transportation recognises Dat Bike as the first domestically manufactured electric bike. According to Nguyen, Dat Bike leverages vertical integration rather than depending on third-party, imported electric drivetrains and parts to save costs while enhancing quality. The majority of Dat Bike’s vehicle parts are designed by the firm, and 80 percent of its suppliers are situated in Vietnam. It also employs a direct-to-consumer distribution approach, which drives down pricing.
Son Nguyen, founder and CEO of Dat Bike said, “Dat Bike is proud to be at the forefront of reimaging transportation in Southeast Asia. We are incredibly proud of the progress we have made so far, and we continue to strive to make electric vehicle performance at par and better than gasoline. Today Dat Bike represents high-performance, electric motorbikes that are designed and crafted at affordable prices for the changing Vietnam. We are proud to continue to partner with Jungle Ventures as we scale into other geographies in Vietnam.”
My Tran, vice president at Jungle Ventures added, “The $25Bn two wheeler industry in Southeast Asia in particular is at the cusp of electrification. Son’s determination to electrify Southeast Asia 2-wheeler market is in great part driven by an acute awareness of the looming environmental threat and delivered by the unmatched performance of Dat Bike. We are extremely proud to partner with Dat Bike as the lead the change in the region and create the benchmark globally for high-performance electric bikes.”
Tech at play
Dat Bike now owns the technology for its battery packing and controller. It will be able to invest in engine technology with its new funds. Nguyen went on to say that the company will also update its mobile app, introducing new capabilities and shortening the feedback loop on its error reporting tool.
Consumer worries regarding the performance of e-bikes in comparison to gasoline counterparts were a big issue that the company had to overcome. According to the company, its initial product line, the Weaver, has three times the performance (5 kW compared 1.5 kW) and two times the range (100 km vs 50 km) of most competitive electric bikes. The Weaver 200, Dat Bike’s second model, was released last year with improved performance, including a 200-kilometer range and 6 kW power. It also lowered charging time from one hour for 100 kilometres to 2.5 hours for a full 200-kilometer charge.
Dat Bike now has two stores in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and its bikes can also be ordered online. A portion of the funds will be used to expand its offline-to-online approach into more major cities, including Thai Nguyen, Bac Ninh, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Ha Long, Vinh, Quy Nhon, Nha Trang, Danang, Can Tho, and Vung Tau.
Dat Bike’s leadership staff has been rapidly expanding. The company has hired seasoned marketer Andrzej Bialasiewicz as Head of Marketing, Ha Truong, a veteran in e-bike design in Vietnam, as Head of Design, and Minh Pham, previously head of product strategy in Yamaha Vietnam, as Product Lead.
Meanwhile, Jungle Ventures has invested in a number of Vietnamese startups, including KiotViet, a merchant platform for SMEs, Mio, a social commerce network for grocery and fresh produce, Medici, a healthcare and insurtech platform, and Timo, a digital bank.