Startup of ex-Tesla and ex-Rappi arrives in Brazil to take electrical bikes to supply folks
- September 14, 2022
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With an investment of US$ 8.5 million, Leoparda Electric arrives in the country to expand electric mobility on two wheels
the british Jack Sarvary is already well used to the Latin American reality. For 10 years in countries such as Argentina and Colombia, he has commanded operations of important startups.
The most notable of these was the rappia delivery unicorn that Sarvary helped to take off the ground, still at the time of the initial structuring — and in which he was also responsible for creating an ultra-fast delivery vertical, Rappi Turbo.
Now, the executive’s new venture will be in Brazil. This Tuesday he officially launches Leoparda Electric, a mobility startup that aims to expand access to electric motorcycles for delivery people in the country.
Next to Sarvary is Billy Blausteina former manager of Tesla that adds tickets in mobility companies, such as Uber. At the electric car giant, Blaustein led large teams, in addition to pivoting the company’s used car sales arm. In February, he teamed up with his longtime colleague to create a new business with a proposal aimed at Latin America.
idea for business
Managing a business unit within Rappi sparked Sarvary’s interest in the day-to-day minutiae of couriers, especially with regard to financial pain. “I wondered what it would take to make them switch from a regular motorcycle to an electric motorcycle, which would be more sustainable financially and for the environment”, says the entrepreneur.
The answer was a large compilation of structural problems, such as the doubled price of costs and the idle charging of vehicles – a full battery charge used to take more than five hours.
From there, he and Blaustein started to research viable business models that could facilitate access to electric motorcycles for delivery people, but with the advent of not only reducing acquisition costs, but also breaking down the logistical bumps and structure (such as lengthy shipments that interfere with the delivery routine).
How will it work
Leopard Electric’s proposal basically consists of being a great enabler of battery replacements. This means that couriers who own electric motorcycles will be able to turn to the startup’s network to replace their used batteries with fully charged new ones — and thus end the waiting time for charging at stations.
In a network of stations, a priori installed in São Paulo, Leoparda Electric will carry out the exchange for monthly subscribers at a cost that, at this first moment, will be around R$ 100, depending on the chosen plan. The proposal to expand this is in partnerships with some players in the sector.
The model is similar to the one created by Brazilian company Voltz, which recently partnered with iFood to offer R$10,000 motorcycles for delivery people.
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Creating such a network, however, will require a first effort in offering the bikes themselves. For that, the startup must import “a few hundred” of motorcycles from Asia for sale, says the founder. “It doesn’t matter how, but we want to be the complete partners of consumers to make electric mobility possible around here. We are slowly thinking of ways to do that,” he says.
With launch scheduled for the end of November, the company’s intention is to have at least 100,000 customers by the end of 2023. “We are optimistic. We want to be the fuel network of the future”, he says.
With the model defined, Leoparda Electric arrives in Brazil thanks to the executives’ belief that the most mature market in mobility in Latin America lives here. What is additional, in this scenario, is the fact that Brazil is the country with the largest number of motorcycles in circulation, considering the total population.
Behind the proposal is a social and environmental mission. According to Sarvary, there is some flexibility about what the company should actually offer to customers, as long as it follows the core purpose of facilitating the decarbonization of the planet. “What we are doing here is more than creating a startup and following the market momentum. It’s developing an idea that helps people and the planet. The business comes later,” she says.
The capture of Leoparda Electric
To get the company off the ground and bring it to Brazil, the partners have just raised US$ 8.5 million. The current round was led by funds Monashees and Construct Capital. In addition to the leaders of the round, the following also participated in the investment:
- Claure Capital, Marcelo Claure’s fund, which launched Softbank in Latin America;
- Aueco, Colombia’s main motorcycle importer;
- K50 Ventures;
- Climate Capital
- Angel investors (founders, CEOs and executives of companies like Rappi, Tesla, Uber, Kavak and Kovi)
With the round, the company’s intention is to bet on the creation of a robust team of specialists, “stealing” experts from large companies in the market – see the case of Tesla itself. “We are going to hire specialists from large companies, such as software engineers, and start implementing our charging exchange network”, he says.