This woman entrepreneur is solving last-mile delivery using EVs for the likes of Zomato, Swiggy, Bigbasket, Flipkart
After working in S&P for seven years, Rashi Agarwal launched LetsFlaunt in 2013, a fashion tech startup, which she ran for four years. LetsFlaunt was an ecommerce startup that provided customised T-shirts, coasters, mugs, etc. In two years, the startup had grown from one member to a team of 50, Rashi tells HerStory.
“The biggest pain point in the fashion tech segment that startups usually deal with is the unorganised nature of the market. But that doesn’t mean it is not cluttered. Everywhere you look there is a competition trying to capture your share. Hence, it was difficult to grow the business beyond a certain level,” she says.
In 2017, she joined her husband Akash Gupta when he launchedElectric, with an aim to reduce pollution in last-minute logistics.
Zypp Electric aims to disrupt and transform the future of last-mile delivery with electric vehicles (EVs), a battery swapping infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT), and an artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) platform, while making it sustainable and affordable for businesses of all types — from ecommerce and e-grocery companies to small kiranas and even large e-retail customers.
“I decided to join Zypp to drive better EV adoption and contribute to the fight against climate change. At Zypp, I am responsible for supply, procurement, efficient deployment, and redeployment of electric scooters, for all the OEMs, fintech, and leasing partnerships, all legal and statutory compliances. Apart from that, I am closely working with the heads of HR, admin, legal, finance, sourcing, data, and operations in the CBO (Chief Business Officer) role,” she explains.
Building an environment-friendly transportation system
During most of their travels overseas, the couple observed that transportation was exceptionally clean and environment friendly.
“In India, for long-distance travel, there were several options available. However, for shorter distances, there were very few clean energy travel options available. Hence, we decided to solve for sustainable mobility and solutions. Initially, we started with last-mile mobility for daily commuters. But, when we saw a lot of corporates reaching out to us looking for delivery of their shipments on EVs as a sustainable way to reduce their carbon footprint,” she says.
Today, Zypp has over 100 partners across logistics, grocery, food, and pharma sectors, including Zomato, Swiggy, Bigbasket, Blinkit, Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, PharmEasy, Delhivery, Spencers, and others. It has also partnered with most leading last-mile delivery service providers.
“Zypp had its own roller-coaster ride. We didn't start as an ‘EV startup’ but I feel we pivoted at the right time — every time. This not only gave the business a boost but also bolstered our position as one of the leading EV players in the market and gained a first-mover advantage,” she adds.
Long road ahead
Rashi points out that the EV space is still at a nascent stage in India and comes with its own challenges.
“While we have deployed charging stations and battery swapping networks, it is still a long road ahead to meet the requirements of the industry. Zypp riders are equipped with two batteries giving them a mileage of 120 kms in one go, hence also taking care of their mileage anxiety. We also provide them with first-hand experience of EV scooters and have introduced a buyback option with our OEM partners to cover the second-hand sale of EV scooters as well,” she says.
Rashi claims that the startup’s its IoT and AI/ML-enabled EV platform has been able to save 2,917 tonnes of CO2 for the country by making over 4 million deliveries in FY22.
Additionally, Zypp scaled its fleet of EVs from 800 in 2021 to 5,000 in 2022. The startup is also expecting a five-fold increase in its revenue. It also expanded its footprint and started operations in three more cities.
According to Rashi, in the last 12 months, the company has scaled the business to 7x growth with revenue growing at 30 percent month-on-month for the last five months.
As a couple working together, she says most of the time spent with Akash is on shop talk.
“The energy we dedicate to strategising and formulating our plans for the business is tangible and exciting at the same time. Akash’s experience helps in understanding the tenacity and reach of any innovative idea I put forward and that’s how we complement each other. We try to maintain our work-life relationship by taking two-three days off at least once in six months and planning a trip together to a new destination which helps us unwind, recharge, and realise our goals in life,” she says.
Rashi plans to take Zypp Electric to the next level by scaling from 5,000 EVs to 25,000 by December, and is focused on expanding operations to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai, among others.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta