After delivering a plastic bucket to an elderly lady in Mogappair and then a live lobster from the loving mother to her daughter in Neelankarai so she could cook it for dinner, Anand Padmanabhan, founder of WeDeliverLocal, says nothing fazes his delivery boys anymore. “We’ve transported it all -from tailored clothes to food to documents and even people across the city,” says Padmanabhan, who started his hyperlocal logistics delivery firm in Chennai 15 months ago.
Padmanabhan says he has already grown to 500 individual deliveries a day, generating a revenue of upto `5 lakh a month. “People are getting tech savvy and if there is something they can get done online, why would they want to step out,” says Padmanabhan.
Simply because when they’re working Monday to Saturday , what people really need is a Man Friday . Some one to pick up clothes from their tailor or return li brary books past their due date… niggling tasks that never get done because no one has the time, or to be honest, inclination.
“When someone is earn ing `1 lakh a month, it equates to around `2,000 an hour. It doesn’t make financial sense to take off a half day to run an errand as mundane as delivering papers when there is a professional service willing to do it for Rs 100,” says Srinivas Madhavam, founder of Hyderabad-based VDeliver. ” As long as it is legal, we deliver it,” he adds.
When VDeliver hits the road in Chennai this February , it will be in a tight race with the existing half a dozen point-topoint delivery services, which include VDeliverlocal, Kwickdel, Easybikes, and Genie, whose founders, like Padmanabhan and Madhavam, are beginning to see crores where people see chores. ” As traffic gets more congested, I can only see the market for these services growing,” says Madhavam, whose gophers have juggled up to 300 deliveries a day . According to a report from Tracxn, which tracks start-ups in India, there are more than 90 start-ups in the Indian logistics market – with more than 50 of them having been founded in 2014 and 2015. While the food and grocery delivery segment seem to have the largest market share, the `general’ package slab too seems poised to grow. Madhavam says venture capitalists too are showing interest in hyperlocal firms, which points towards a probable boom.
“It’s not just about saving time, it’s also about offices not finding trustworthy staff to run errands like delivering important documents or money even between locations,” says Kwickdel founder Prashant Jalan. “We take on that responsibility,” adds Jalan, who says his delivery boys have transported everything from passports through the city. He adds that after Chennai’s December floods, a large percent a large percentage of deliveries have included electronic ap pliances to and from their ser vice centres.
“Commuting, parking and waiting for a task to be done can be a nightmare in Chennai.
Our deliv e r y b oy s e r y b oy s also have intricate knowledge of quicker routes, which is why we deliver faster than most people would take to travel the same distance,” says Jalan.
The company has now started home to school, tuition and office lunch dropoffs as well as cash on delivery service for local cellphone stores so customers don’t have to drive to them. “While delivery used to be common only for goodies, gifts and groceries, now common errands are in demand,” he adds.
Especially in the case of people like Niagha Rajesh, 20, who works with social media firm Trendcloud. Ever since she met with an accident last year, her parents refuse to let her drive, so she began using hyperlocal delivery company Genie’s app. “I have used them to pick up deliveries from other online vendors, which I have missed, T-shirts from a friend, and tailored clothes. I worked out that it costs less in time and money than taking an auto or cab to each location,” says Rajesh.