Kiran’s day as a delivery partner with Howdyy begins by logging into the rider app and checking and accepting allotted deliveries for the day. “The rider app maps out the whole route for delivery and shows nearby battery swapping centres or mechanical stores,” he explains.
Kiran, who covers Byappanahalli, Indiranagar, Kasturi Nagar, Doddanekundi, and CHM Road, says what he loves about the job is that he does not have to worry about the vehicle running out of charge, as there are always points nearby. This makes it possible for him to seamlessly complete around 24 deliveries a day.
He is just one of the 1,000 delivery partners at the Bengaluru-based startup, which aims to use electric vehicles to “revolutionise the logistics of deliveries in India”.
As the three co-founders Aashirwad Deshmukkh, Aisshwaraya Deshmukkh and childhood friend Kannan Marimuthu emphasise, Howdyy is the “right combination of technology and EV”.
Simplifying deliveries and making them sustainable
The story goes back to the time when the COVID-19 pandemic had just hit the country. Aashirwad and Kannan talked about how the logistics industry was set to change. These conversations were not new territory for the two childhood friends, who had always harboured a dream to start something of their own.
This common zeal, coupled with a shared love for the environment, got the duo thinking that the pandemic was the right time to sit down and work out a plan for their venture.
“Kannan has a background in the automation sector,” says Aashirwad, adding that this also gave them insights into how the delivery industry would boom during the lockdown as everything was now shifting online.
“We thought of venturing into this space while keeping sustainability as our foundation,” says Kannan. “Our initial aim was to reduce carbon footprint and emissions.”
The trio started watching the markets closely to deem what loopholes they could fix through their innovation. “We were intent on identifying the gaps present in the system and then designing our venture in a way that could optimise this,” says Aisshwaraya.
The trio also realised that they could gain insights by speaking to delivery agents on ground.
“During the lockdown, I remember trying to send some material from our family company to one of our customers. The delivery process was manual, of course, and that is when it hit me that there were so many gaps that, if fixed, could make the process a smoother one,” recalls Aashirwad, adding that when he spoke to delivery agents who were delivering medicines and groceries to his home, they would share that maintaining the vehicle involved a lot of time and energy.
To add to this, the trio’s market research shed light on pollution increase due to vehicles, a worrying factor for the automobile industry.
“Taking all this into account,” says Aashirwad, “the goal was to build a sustainable venture that would also make life easier for the delivery agents.”
Six notebooks filled with ideas, and many insights later, Howdyy was launched in Bengaluru in September 2020.
Stating the mission of the company, Kannan says it is no surprise that the future is electric. “We are simply trying to electrify the Indian logistics industry through deliveries.”
How does Howdyy work?
Howdyy partners with clients that span various industries. Aashirwad says in the courier industry they have Blue Dart, while in the pharma space there is 1mg and Apollo.
The API is integrated into the client’s platforms, after which the orders received by the client are sent to Howdyy’s dashboard. From here, delivery partners can access the information on a real-time basis, minimising the time taken for deliveries and making the process more efficient.
At the end of the day, the drivers can take the electric vehicles home and use them for their own purpose, say the founders.
They also note that the startup, while new, is a step in the right direction and has a bright future.
“As the market is growing and small businesses are gaining momentum, the usage of electric vehicles will surge at a faster pace,” believes Aisshwaraya. “This includes e-commerce and small businesses that are product-based and this, in turn, needs logistic services. Howdyy can provide this.”
Currently, the startup is associated with 10 clients and has tie-ups with multiple companies for bikes, etc. All in all, an ecosystem has been created to reduce the hassle of the delivery process and online ordering.
But while India is gaining momentum on the EV bandwagon, there is still a rampant need for charging stations.
Don’t delivery agents find it tough to charge the bike?
“If a rider faces the problem of charge running out, they can go to the nearest charging station that we have partnered with and get the bike going once again,” assures Aashirwad, adding that everything is focused upon having deliveries done on time.
“The customer saves 30 per cent by way of cost, while the rider saves 50 per cent by way of what he would have spent on fuel,” he notes.
With a presence in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Kerala, Howdyy continues to expand and has been successful in doing “close to 5,000 deliveries daily”, say the founders.
As the trio recounts, the venture has come a long way from Kannan and the others delivering orders to now having a structured organised system.
It is all a matter of time, says Aashirwad.
“Though the first six months were tough in terms of building a brand, we managed to build a name for ourselves and today have reached a point where we can proudly say that in keeping with sustainability, we have built a successful venture,” concludes Aashirwad.
Edited by Divya Sethu
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