Published: 11th September 2018
Why Mumbai start-up Hey Deedee is creating a fleet of slick, all-women delivery agents
Currently, operating out of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Bangalore, the first all-women logistics setup of India plans to expand to Kolkata soon followed by centres in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand
At a time when women empowerment is on almost everyone's agenda, Mumbai-based last-mile cargo delivery company, Hey Deedee, is providing employment opportunities to women from low-income families by turning them into well-trained delivery agents.
Currently, operating out of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Bengaluru, the first all-women logistics company in India plans to expand to Kolkata soon followed by centres in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand. "I have been associated with women empowerment for years. I pioneered the concept of a women-operated cab service in Asia with Forsche back in 2007," says Revathi Roy, CEO and co-founder of Hey Deedee. "I sold my shares in the company and started Hey Deedee in 2016 with Jagdish Gothi. I had realised the potential of the logistics sector. Last mile delivery service will be a booming sector for years to come. The number of people ordering online will only increase over the years. Thus, there will always be a demand for delivery executives. So why not create a pool of women riders and drivers?" she asks.
Turning their wheels in the right direction: Hey Deedee is the first all-women logistics company in India
A woman's path to get a job has always been riddled with hurdles — irrespective of the socio-economic strata she belongs to. "We start right from mobilisation. We have a team of social work postgraduates who approach communities, NGOs, political parties and anyone and everyone who can help us get in touch with women from low-income families," explains Revathi. "We select women who want to learn the skills and are committed to working hard."
There is an extensive 45-day training where the women are taught public relations, hygiene, road signs, traffic rules and a hoard of other aspects that would help them, along with driving classes. The driving training is in two parts — first ten days on a simulator (both four-wheeler and two-wheeler) and then a month on the vehicle. "We charge a subsidised fee of Rs 1,500 for two-wheeler training and Rs 3,000 for four-wheeler training," says Roy, adding, "The major part of the training programme is funded by CSR foundations."
We select women who want to learn the skills and are committed to working hard
Revathi Roy, Co-Founder, Hey Deedee
The company is currently working with some of the giants in the e-commerce sector. "We operate like any other logistics start-up. We pitch to e-commerce companies and then tie up with them if the deal goes forward," Revathi says. The company kicked off with a pre-seed fund from California-based Metaform Ventures LLC but is getting ready to pitch to investors soon.