At 13, most kids care little about the world constantly changing around them. One can hardly expect them to find solutions to big problems or to chalk out billion-dollar ideas. But a 13-year-old boy changed this very perception when he launched his new logistics app.
In Mumbai, a city where life is constantly on the move, Tilak Mehta’s start-up has come to rescue of many harrowed with the disorganized delivery system.
Splitting his time between school and running his start-up, Mehta is already thinking of revving up his business. At a recently held press conference, when a reporter asked him: “Isn’t the management guilty of child labour for using your talent?” Mehta gave a prompt reply, oozing confidence: “No! They work for me, I don’t work for them.” And the room full of reporters burst into laughter.
How this boy embarked on his entrepreneurial journey is quite interesting. Almost a year ago, Mehta was in urgent need to get his book couriered from one part of the city to the other. It was then, much to his dismay, he realized that his efforts would remain futile — there were hardly any cheap and same-day delivery options available.
This compelled him to do something about the problem. After a few days, he spotted a dabbawala in his colony and learned that the community delivers dabbas (lunch boxes) roughly for about INR 40-50 per day. This got Mehta thinking and soon he found a solution to end Mumbai’s logistics woes.
The teen entrepreneur says, “I wanted to give Mumbai a better same-day delivery option with a reasonable cost. And who better than the dabbawalas to work with for the same? They are generally free after 3 pm and [I thought] this can turn out to be their second source of income.”
Balancing it Out
This led him to launch Paper N Parcel (PNP). But the start-up didn’t start overnight — Mehta had to compromise on everything a teenager generally enjoys. And for him, the major challenge was to convince the dabbawala community to believe in his idea and work for him. Mehta began travelling with dabbawalas to understand the nitty-gritty of their work life.He says,
“During this period, I learned a lot of things such as understanding the local train routes and more importantly, how the community delivers the right box to the right person without any support of the technology. And I realized that the dabbawalas’ expertise, when clubbed with technology can create disruption in the market.” With PNP’s app, one can schedule a pick-up before 2.30 pm.
The customer is then notified with the delivery executive details. Additionally, there is an option of live tracking of parcels as well. The start-up is backed by Mehta’s family business, Rushabh Sealink.
In a day, the company manages around 1000- 1200 orders with an average ticket size of INR 40-60. The start-up’s target is to reach close to around 1 lakh deliveries by the end of 2020, which would generate revenue of INR 100 crore. Apart from the support of around 300 dabbawalas, PNP has an additional manpower of 180 people.
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