Extra money! Dabbawalas to tie up with lenders for last-mile deliveries

Mumbai’s dabbawala network will soon become a logistics service provider for banks, NBFCs and fintech start-ups.

The first initiatives are being driven by start-up ZapFin Teknologies, which runs the DocBoyz app for fintech correspondents, and Dabbawala & Dabbawala, a company owned by dabbawalas. The two have struck a five-year partnership. The field force of around 5,000 dabbawalas will be used for document verification, field investigations and debt recovery. A dabbawala could earn as much as Rs 10,000-15,000 per person per month, depending on the hours worked. This would be extra income for them.

Prashant Kumar, co-founder and CMO of ZapFin Teknologies, said the dabbawalas have been hit hard by the pandemic and this partnership would give them an opportunity to earn some extra money. ZapFin carries out address verifications, offers data collection services, delivers and collects KYC documents. The company has a team of 10,000 partners and agencies pan-India and works with 16 banks and NBFCs. These critical works cannot be done online, and the the dabbawalas would be useful, Kumar pointed out, adding that all services, including collections in the case of defaults, involve visiting customers.
Kumar’s company will re-skill the team to handle financial documents and processes as they become ‘Docboyz’. Services will be provided seamlessly across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.

The dabbawala network works 24×7 and is well acquainted with every noock and corner in Mumbai. The agreement with the company was signed by the Dabbawala Trust president Ullas Santaram Muke along with president of Dabbawala Association Ramdas Karwane and their legal advisor Ramesh More.

An earlier attempt to work with e-commerce companies for last-mile deliveries had not worked out for dabbwala members but the Docboyz founder is confident this effort will go well.

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