The second episode of "Cost to Company", our brand new podcast on the biggest shifts in careers and workplaces is out. .

If you visited the Flipkart website recently, you would have something highly unlikely appearing on the portal’s multiple virtual banners—an electric scooter starting at around Rs 50,000 (~US$650). Earlier in July, Bengaluru-based bike rental and electric mobility company Bounce declared that it would begin selling the scooter—named Infinity—on the e-commerce portal. It’s the first time an e-commerce firm in India is attempting to sell a vehicle online. 

The risk is minimal for Flipkart. The Walmart-backed company has already set up a business development team to focus strictly on the auto sector. In fact, Flipkart is treating Bounce as a pilot project. According to people working on the partnership, Flipkart also plans to sell scooters made by Bengaluru-based EV company Ather Energy on its platform soon. And the broker for this deal? None other than Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal—one of Ather’s investors.

The partnership has been in the works for over two years, according to people aware of the developments. Bounce had worked on a project with Jeeves, Flipkart’s after-sales services arm, for large electronics in early 2020. Back then, it was exploring options in the battery space, trying to leverage its swapping network in Bangalore, and replicating that across multiple cities.

“We were wowed by their operations. Sure, things were slippery here and there, but overall it was impressive to us, as we hadn’t done any logistics earlier. We realised then that setting up last-mile delivery is a Herculean task,” said a former Bounce employee who was part of the project.

Flipkart plans to handle the last-mile delivery and logistics, with Bounce taking care of the after-sales service. Flipkart is also ensuring a “15-day fulfilment journey” on its backend and hopes to use its logistical expanse and success in selling electronics—a vital category vital category The Ken JioMart Digital: Reliance’s offline push to dethrone the online smartphone kings Read more  for Flipkart as it accounts for nearly 50% of its gross merchandise value during annual festive sales.

For four-year-old Bounce, however, this is a bigger bet. The company has already gone through three rounds of layoffs in as many years. It let go 10% of its workforce as recently as 22 July, The Ken has learnt. Bounce confirmed the layoffs in an email but disputed the 10% figure. 

Over the last few months, we have replaced our petrol vehicles with electric scooters. We let go of a few members responsible for the sale of those vehicles.

Ankit Acharya, Leader (Communications and PR), Bounce

The company has taken a wild ride in the past few years, going from an app renting out petrol scooters to manufacturing and selling electric scooters.

AUTHOR

Shashwat Mohanty

Shashwat covers cleantech and internet. An alum of St. Xavier's College (Bombay), SCMC, and ACJ, Shashwat has previously worked at The Economic Times and Meesho. When he isn't missing deadlines, Shashwat likes attending live music gigs, discussing baseball, and watching Parks and Rec with his partner 🏳️‍🌈

View Full Profile

Read this story. Subscribe Now

This story is available across both editions. Subscribe to the one that’s most relevant for you. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.