Startup that wants to give an EV twist to regular cycles seeks Sharks' time not money

Startup that wants to give an EV twist to regular cycles seeks Sharks' time not money
  • Gursaurabh Singh invented an electric conversion kit that can be fitted onto any cycle to convert it into a motor and battery-powered electric cycle.
  • Instead of monetary investment, Singh asked the sharks to give 100 hours of their time for 0.5% equity.
  • Though surprised by the request, three sharks–Anupam Mittal, Peyush Bansal and Aman Gupta—struck a deal with Singh.
While pitchers on Shark Tank India are usually looking for an investment, entrepreneur Gursaurabh Singh asked for something extremely unusual — the sharks’ time. Singh appeared on episode 30 of Shark Tank India S2 and pitched his invention DVECK - Dhruv Vidyut Electric Conversion Kit.

DVECK is an electric conversion kit that can be fitted onto any cycle to convert it into a motor and battery-powered electric cycle. Dhruv Vidyut is a Delhi-based startup that is yet to launch its product in the market. Singh started Dhruv Vidyut to upgrade man’s oldest loyal companion - the bicycle.

“We’ve upgraded from 2G to 5G. The time for food delivery went from 30 minutes to 20, and now just 10. To bring a similar revolution in this (bicycle), I invented DVECK… for this revolution, I need 100 hours of your time for 0.5% equity,” shared Singh on the show.

Peyush Bansal, co-founder of Lenskart remarked that he’d reached out to Singh before he appeared on the show, after seeing Singh’s video on DVECK. Singh shared that he’d been approached by not just Bansal, but also Aman Gupta (co-founder of boAt) and Anupam Mittal (founder of after the demonstration video — but couldn’t respond due to a massive inflow of messages.

“I made a video in February 2020. I uploaded the video on February 8, and on February 9, woke up to 800 messages on WhatsApp, 70 missed calls and multiple offers on social media. I didn’t want to lose focus, so I went back to Hisar and began redeveloping it (DVECK),” shared Singh.


The non-engineer who followed his passion

Originally hailing from Haryana, Singh graduated with a degree in literature. However, his passion lay in motorcycles. He worked in the manufacturing industry for nearly 16 years, before starting work on Dhruv Vidyut.

“If someone is on foot, he can cover a 5 km radius, on a normal cycle, 10 km. You extend that radius to 50 km and everything will be accessible to him — education, bank, life, recreation, everything. I kept that in mind and began working on this (DVECK),” shared Singh

When Mittal asked him how he arrived at the figure of 100 hours, Singh remarked that his expertise lay in manufacturing and R&D, but he had no knowledge of distribution, which is the next step for the startup.

DVECK is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It can be installed on a bicycle in just 20 minutes and is free from damage by water, dust, mud, or even fire, claimed the founder. Singh even demonstrated the kit’s endurance against fire by lighting a DVECK installed on a bicycle on fire on the set.

The manufacturing cost of the current base model is ₹9,000. According to Singh, the kit’s unique selling point is its pedal charging capability — the battery charges through pedalling.

“Its power is endless. You can keep pedalling, keep charging, and keep riding it forever,” stated Singh.

Singh shared that he hopes to launch DVECK in the market by April 2023, once he has tested the product to his satisfaction and improved certain features. The first prototype was prepared in February 2022.

A 100-hour commitment

Sugar Cosmetics’ co-founder Vineeta Singh was the first shark to back out because she couldn’t commit 100 hours to the product. Namita Thapar, the executive director at Emcure Pharmaceuticals, called Singh a ‘marketing guru’ who dared to dream but backed out from committing 100 hours. However, she offered to share her networks in the EV space with him.

Mittal commented that Singh should be asking for money, not time, on the show since that was the whole premise — and that Singh also needed the money to further test, improve, and eventually launch the product in the market. However, he still made a conditional offer — a 100-hour commitment for 0.5% equity, but only if Singh can raise ₹1 crore.

“You asked for time, which I’m willing to give. But I’m guessing you’ll also need money. You need to learn this lesson on your own,” said Mittal.

Bansal and Gupta also made a conditional offer — 100 hours split between the two, but on the condition that once the product is ready, the two will be the first investors in the startup.

Bansal commented that Singh didn’t understand business, only manufacturing. He thus suggested that Singh move from Delhi to Gurgaon to work on DVECK at a free space in Bansal’s factory in Bhiwadi. He wouldn’t charge rent from Singh.

“You seem to have a phobia that the moment you commercialize it (DVECK), you’ll get distracted… work there (Bansal’s factory) for another year and a half. And the day you’re ready, Aman and I will give you the first funding,” said Bansal.

Gupta further added that once Singh’s product is completely ready, they will connect him to people who can help Singh make a business and financial plan.

Before accepting the offer, Singh appealed to Mittal to join as well, since he felt ‘compatible’ with him. He also committed to raising ₹1 crore — which was Mittal’s original condition.

Ultimately, all three sharks agreed to give 100 hours for 0.5% equity, but on two conditions — Singh raises ₹1 crore and once the product is ready for launch, Bansal and Gupta invest first. Singh took up the offer.