Extra money! Dabbawalas partners 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 led by the start-up ZapFin Teknologies, which manages the DocBoyz application for fintech correspondents, and Dabbawala & Dabbawala, a company owned by dabbawalas. The two entered into a five-year partnership. The field force of around 5,000 dabbawalas will be used for document verification, field investigations and debt collection. A dabbawala could earn up to 10,000 to 15,000 rupees per person per month, depending on the hours worked. It would be extra income for them.

Prashant Kumar, co-founder and CMO of ZapFin Teknologies, said dabbawalas have been hit hard by the pandemic and this partnership will give them the opportunity to earn extra money. ZapFin performs address verification, offers data collection services, issues and collects KYC documents. The company has a team of 10,000 partners and branches across India and works with 16 banks and NBFCs. These critical jobs cannot be done online, and dabbawalas would be helpful, Kumar pointed out, adding that all services, including default recoveries, involve visiting customers.
Kumar’s company will re-qualify the team to manage financial documents and processes as they become “Docboyz”. Services will be provided seamlessly across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.

The dabbawala network operates 24/7 and is well versed in every nook and cranny of Mumbai. The agreement with the company was signed by the Chairman of the Dabbawala Trust, Ullas Santaram Muke, as well as the Chairman of the Dabbawala Association, Ramdas Karwane, and their legal adviser, Ramesh More.

An earlier attempt to work with e-commerce companies for last-mile deliveries hadn’t worked out for dabbwala members, but the Docboyz founder is confident the effort will go down well.

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