Daunting motorbike traffic during peak hours has become one of Vietnam’s most distinctive sights. Though it has become the go-to transport option for most Vietnamese, it is also the culprit of air pollution, accounting for 60–70% of pollutants in Vietnam’s major cities, according to a report by VNExpress.
Dat Bike, a Ho Chi Minh City-based startup, hopes to solve the pain points of high energy consumption, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emission by offering electric motorbikes to Vietnamese consumers, who have the highest motorcycle adoption in Southeast Asia.
The mobility startup recently bagged USD 2.6 million in its pre-Series A round, led by Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, with participation from Wavemaker Partners, Hustle Fund, and iSeed Ventures.
The firm is set to supercharge the country’s adoption of electric bikes, while its future plan is focused on the lucrative two-wheeler market in a region where 80% of households own a scooter, according to data from Pew Research Center.
“We want to transform the 250 million gasoline bikes in Southeast Asia to electric vehicles,” said Son Nguyen, Dat Bike’s founder and CEO, adding that the new funds will enable the firm to beef up innovation.
The investment marks Jungle Ventures’ first venture into the mobility sector, a vast emerging market in Southeast Asia that awaits the maturity of battery-charging infrastructure. “The two-wheeler industry in Southeast Asia in particular is ripe for reaping benefits of new developments in electric vehicles and automation,” said Jungle Ventures’ founding partner Amit Anand.
KrASIA recently spoke to Anand to find out more about the details of the investment, and the potential of the two-wheeler industry in Southeast Asia.
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
KrASIA (Kr): What makes Dat Bike different from other players?
Amit Anand (AA): We started talking to Dat Bike in 2020, and were blown away by the technology that they were bringing to the market to disrupt the two-wheeler industry. With Dat Bike, we are looking at the greenification of a USD 25 billion two-wheeler industry in Southeast Asia. At Jungle Ventures, we always look to partner with founders who have the tenacity, determination, and ambition to turn their vision into reality, and Son had all of those.
Dat Bike is the first and only electric motorbike in the Vietnamese market that can rival gas bikes in power and range. Their electric motorbikes come with a 5,000-watt motor that can accelerate from 0 to 50 km/h in three seconds. Moreover, it only takes three hours for Dat Bike to charge, which is one of the fastest in the industry.
Kr: How does Jungle’s backing of Dat Bike fit the firm’s overall investment direction in Southeast Asia?
AA: Vietnam is the second largest two-wheeler market in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, with 86% of its households owning two-wheelers. Southeast Asia’s two-wheeler market is valued at USD 25 billion, with more than 95% of the two-wheelers still running on gas. While Dat Bike started in Vietnam, it leads with the ambition to become the e-bike company of Southeast Asia, and we’d like to be part of their narrative in achieving the goal.
Jungle Ventures invests across consumer tech, software for SMEs, and enterprise software across Southeast Asia, working closely with founders to build global businesses that stand the test of time.
Kr: Jungle Ventures also backs KiotViet, a cloud-based point-of-sale management software platform. What is your firm’s plan for Vietnam?
AA: Jungle Ventures focuses on three major themes: tech enabling consumer consumption, software targeted towards digitization of SMEs, and software for enterprise companies. Our vision for Vietnam is no different from the rest of Southeast Asia. We want to partner with determined leaders building category-leading businesses in large opportunity spaces.
Kr: How would you characterize Vietnam’s startup ecosystem?
AA: Vietnam is one of the most dynamic emerging countries in the region, with a young population, high internet penetration, and a very supportive government. Looking at a country set to be a USD 52 billion internet economy in the next four to five years, Vietnam provides an excellent platform for entrepreneurial founders who want to build the next generation of tech giants in the region and beyond.