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In Vietnam, scooters and motorbikes have long been an essential part of city life. Even as a native Hanoian himself, Nguyen Nguyen – co-founder of Selex Motors – remembers the shock of getting reacquainted with Vietnam’s busy streets after years studying abroad. “I was struck by how bad the air pollution is … it was like a sea of two-wheelers!”
It wasn’t long until Nguyen, along with fellow engineers Hai Nguyen and Quang Nguyen founded Selex Motors, with the goal of driving sustainability and cleaning city air by popularising electric vehicles (EVs) and putting green energy into everyday transportation.
“In order for EVs to take off, it has to be convenient in terms of charging the battery,” explains Nguyen, fully aware of how off-putting a 3 or 4-hour wait to charge a scooter can be. Selex’s solution, however, solves this problem in elegant fashion, enabling EV drivers to drive off with enough power to drive up to 150km after only 1 minute at a battery station. The trick? Batteries aren’t charged at Selex’s battery stations, they’re swapped!
Selex’s battery exchange stations can be found at convenient spots, such as grocery stores and cafés, easily located via the Selex app or via Google Maps integration. Drivers can typically expect to save 25% on fuel costs, and 50% on maintenance, while optional cargo boxes can be installed on the rear of the bike, able to carry 50% more weight than other comparable EVs.
This makes emissions-free EV the cheapest and smartest choice for personal and business use alike. While the concept behind Selex is certainly an ingenious one, applicable to almost any city in the world, even the smartest new firm has to raise startup capital and make vital connections from the get go.
The biggest value I got from PFAN was definitely the connections they have with other corporations, and potential investors... I’m thankful for the people there, they put a lot of effort and resources into what they believe is good for us.
“When we first started, I read a news piece on LinkedIn about PFAN calling for making an impact on sustainability,” recalls Nguyen. “I saw the potential of connecting with investors.” Selex connected with PFAN’s advisors, and within a year was rubbing elbows with a significant number of potential investors at the 2019 Asia Forum for Climate and Clean Energy Financing in Singapore, a regional investor forum organised annually by PFAN.
“We formed connections there that have lasted until today,” says Nguyen. “The biggest value I got from PFAN was definitely the connections they have with other corporations, and potential investors… I’m thankful for the people there, they put a lot of effort and resources into what they believe is good for us.”
While there’s undoubtedly a tricky road ahead – especially in the context of COVID and the global chip shortage – Selex’s growth is well buoyed by the firm’s incredible potential to benefit city dwellers.
As of early 2022, the startup was able to raise US$2.1 million in a seed funding round led by Touchstone Partners, and it’s not hard to see why. Selex offers both cleaner air on those crowded streets, and convenient, not to mention fun, new tools for the fast-growing logistics sector, increasing earnings potential for busy urbanites.
Currently in the process of deploying their solution for two big logistics players on the Vietnamese market, Selex is running pilot deployments in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The plan is to hit the 100-station mark in 2022, then around 3,000 by 2025.