Mumbai’s Tilak Mehta (13) is the latest to enter India’s elite club of innovative entrepreneurs and undoubtedly the youngest recipient of the Forbes (India) Leadership Award 2018. Last July Tilak successfully launched Papers N Parcels (PNP), an app-based courier service firm utilising the maximum city’s globally famous 5,000-strong dabbawallah network which unfailingly delivers over 200,000 lunch tiffins to working professionals everyday.
Using the network of Mumbai Dabbawallah Association, PNP is providing same-day delivery of a variety of papers, documents, flowers and parcels at half the price (Rs.40-180), giving established courier companies a run for their money. Ten months since its launch, PNP has made 11,400 deliveries to clients including pathology labs, broking houses and shipping agencies.
A class VIII student of the city’s IB (Geneva)-affiliated Garodia International Centre for Learning, Tilak was inspired and encouraged by his parents — Vishal Mehta, who runs a logistics business, and homemaker mother Kajal. In 2017, he failed to locate a same-day courier service to deliver some school texts he had forgotten at an uncle’s house. “This prompted me to conceptualise my same-day delivery start-up last summer,” he recalls.
“The idea to rope in Mumbai’s dabbawallahs came to me because they are cost-efficient, reliable, experienced and familiar with the city — parameters which matched my requirements. But even after they came aboard, it took four months to train them in the usage of the app. Presently, 350 dabbawallahs are on call after their tiffin delivery shifts end at 3 p.m,” explains Tilak.
Although he is the founder-promoter of PNP, his imminent entry into senior school has compelled him to take a backseat in the company — he can only commit a few hours to office work — and appoint his uncle Ghanshyam Parekh as chief executive of this year-old enterprise.
After completing higher secondary school, Tilak plans to sign up for a bachelor of science degree programme. “Currently, we are designing a business model which can be replicated in other cities,” says Tilak, who is scheduled to make his TED-X debut this month (April).
Way to go!
Dipta Joshi (Mumbai)