Hey Deedee, a Mumbai-based startup touted as India’s only all-women last-mile logistics services firm, has raised pre-seed funding of $500,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) from early-stage investor Metaform Ventures LLC.
The startup plans to invest the funds mainly to expand its footprint from four cities to 10 cities this calendar year, it said in a statement. It will also use the money to build technology infrastructure.
Hey Deedee provides logistics solutions to e-commerce companies for their last-mile delivery. It was founded by serial entrepreneur Revathi Roy and Jagdish Gothi. It is operated by Zaffiro Learning Pvt. Ltd, a skilling-for-employment enterprise. Roy had previously founded Forsche, a women’s taxi service.
The company trains women from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds to drive two-wheelers and employs them as last-mile delivery executives. It also helps them get two-wheeler loans. The company has more than 2m000 registered women, under different stages of training, and has 62 riders on the job across Mumbai, Bangalore, Nagpur and Pune.
Roy said the company aims to train and employ 10,000 women this year, and become the largest solution provider for hyperlocal companies.
Hey DeeDee operates on a per-delivery model with Amazon, management percentage model with Ecom Express and fixed-income model with other clients.
The parcel delivery fleet claims to have delivered 250,000 parcels till date for its alliance partners including Amazon, Shadowfax, Subway, Ecom Express, Godrej Nature's Basket and Birdy’s. The company plans to launch a four-wheeler warehouse and plans deliveries with an all-women drivers' team.
Metaform Ventures is an investment fund based out of Pleasanton, California. It’s led by angel investor and serial entrepreneur Nilesh Javerchand Jain. Most recently, the fund had backed Picostone, a home-automation solution startup.
“I chose to back Revathi Roy for her enduring leadership on empowering women in logistics, a fast growing, untapped (women powered) sector with much needed diversity. Hey DeeDee continues to break down walls and defy stereotypes,” said Jain.
Bengaluru-headquartered company TaxShe, founded by Vandana Suri, is another all-women taxi fleet in the country. TaxShe employs women drivers to ferry school children in cabs and also offers a cab-pooling service.
According to an International Finance Corporation report titled Driving Toward Equality: Women, Ride-Hailing, and the Sharing Economy, insignificant representation of women in the driver workforce in India remains a concern. All women driver partners surveyed were of the view that driving is not “unsuitable” for them, but men’s representation is so high that it creates a barrier for more women to sign up for the job.