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Lavanya Bahuguna

Blogger-in-Chief

Revathi Roy Drove Us Back To The Time When She Started A Female-Driven Cab Service In 2007

  • IWB Post
  •  January 8, 2018

 

Revathi Roy was definitely way ahead in time when she decided to start a cab service including only female drivers. She began with 10 girls and took a whole year to train them. She wanted to polish their skills with immense patience.

This was in the year 2007 when ForShe was born.

The team got a fabulous response. “Commercial driving wasn’t even that big of a concept back in 2007. Uber alone was founded in 2009. My only motive was to empower the women who were kept close behind the four walls. Here, we were dealing with the lower-middle-class families where most of the members are not very well educated and don’t welcome new ideas,” remembers Roy.

Searching for these women was a task in itself. Families back then weren’t very supportive of their girls/women being the breadwinners. Roy made efforts to break the shackles and make these women live the life they deserved. Because the commercial female drivers comprised merely 5% of the chauffeur market back then, accepting their presence on the roads was a little confusing for the users.

Let’s fast forward to 2016 when Roy came up with another real-time business idea. A year ago, she took the responsibility to train women drivers who’d ride motorbikes and make the parcel delivery process easier for the people of Mumbai.

This time, more women voluntarily walked up to her to get employed by ‘Hey Deedee’ (Hey, Sister), the name of this amazing delivery service. “Well, that’s how most Indians would call a woman asking for her help/favor,” asserts Roy.

Talking more about this bike-taxi service, Roy tells IWB how she and the Co-Founder, Jagdish Gothi, struggled to collect funds in order to get the job started. “We took seed funding from our beautiful friends and also contributed some amount from our pockets,” says the Trailblazer, as Forbes once named her. Recently, Biocon Chairman Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, too, made a philanthropic investment in ‘Hey Deedee.’

Currently, this Mumbai-based bike-taxi service is limited to the B to B market. Every month, the ‘Hey Deedee’ team partners with various companies across India that need efficient and trustworthy delivery services. According to Roy, women make excellent employees as they are naturally born with the talent of multitasking. She thinks that, while at work, women are continuously thinking about the pending work at home and their kids and yet manage to master the work they have in hands.

During the conversation, she shares an emotional story of a woman driver who Roy found in the streets. Her husband had thrown her out of the house and she had no place to live. Roy made her stay in her office and offered her to become a driver under her guidance. Today, this strong female driver is one of the best Mumbai has. Because of this wise career choice, this driver could earn handsome money and sponsor her only daughter’s medical studies.

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Roy also mentions that the ‘Hey Deedee’ team is trying to get the service on an app so that they can cater the B to C market, as well. “Imagine you want to make a last minute delivery to a friend in your city or anywhere in India. All you’ve to do is inform a Deedee, and you’re good to go,” informs the serial entrepreneur, a tag she has been carrying with pride.

And we don’t blame her. Founding some brilliant real-time logistic services is one helluva mission. Roy firmly believes that services like Hey Deedee have the potential to change the biggest of the problems the e-commerce trades usually face. What’s your thought?

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