The National Development Fund (NDF, 國發基金) has agreed to invest US$30 million in electric scooter maker Gogoro Inc (睿能創意) in a bid to help the firm expand its reach to overseas markets, a government official said yesterday.
“Gogoro is not a traditional company that only sells electric scooters. It is an innovative company that provides smart energy solutions and we think the fund should support such a company,” National Development Council Vice Minister Lin Huan (林桓) said by telephone, confirming the NDF’s investment in Gogoro.
More importantly, Gogoro’s vehicles were 100 percent designed and manufactured in Taiwan, which would help drive the business of its supply chains in Taiwan, Lin said.
The Cabinet-level NDF is cooperating with local and foreign venture capital firms to finance local start-ups. According to the investment agreement with Gogoro, the NDF is to take one seat in the company’s board along with a 6.7 percent stake, Lin said.
Gogoro completed its US$130 million fundraising yesterday, with new investors including the state-run fund and Japan’s Panasonic Corp, according to a statement issued by the company.
Citing Gogoro’s US$130 million fundraising proposal, Lin said the company is to spend the fund mainly on expanding its overseas market rather than increasing its production capacity.
“The company has a manufacturing plant in Taoyuan with sufficient production capacity for the time being,” he said. “Gogoro’s next step is to extend its reach to other nation.”
Panasonic is Gogoro smart scooters’ battery pack supplier and the company has become Gogoro’s first strategic partner, the start-up said in the statement, without elaborating the details of the strategic cooperation.
Ruentex Group (潤泰集團) chairman Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) remains the largest investor in Gogoro’s first and second round of fundraisers, the company said.
Ruentex is the operator of RT-Mart (大潤發) hypermarkets in Taiwan and China. Yin’s business interests range from textiles, construction and retail to life insurance.
Gogoro founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke (陸學森) said in the statement that the company has raised US$180 million from investors who shared the same vision as Gogoro.
“Gogoro has sold nearly 2,000 smart scooters and established 89 battery swap stations in Greater Taipei and Taoyuan. Gogoro’s energy network has become the most frequently used battery-swapping system in the world,” Luke said.
The company’s smart scooter shipments jumped 106 percent monthly to 680 electric scooters last month, after the firm cut prices by as much as 23.43 percent and unveiled a cheaper model.
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