Hyderabad siblings create ‘Dovely’, bike taxies exclusive for women

Hyderabad: How often do casual conversations on women’s safety get realised into full-fledged businesses focusing on women empowerment? One such conversation led to the creation of the ‘Dovely’ app by-city-based siblings Uzma Khatoon and Zainab Khatoon.

Concerned over women’s safety, Uzma and Zainab thought of coming up with a solution to address the issue. The Dovely app provides a bike taxi service exclusively run by and for women. Apart from ensuring women’s safety, the entrepreneurs also aim to make women financially independent.

The four-person run application comprises founder Zainab who is a final year B. Pharmacy student, Uzma, a final year B.com Computers student, and Masarrath Fatima and Obaidulla Khan who are final year B. Tech students.

MS Education Academy

As of now the platform has 20 riders and over 400 users and functions through its website and connects riders and passengers through WhatsApp.

The app is still undergoing improvements. “We will be able to develop a full-fledged app only after we reach a certain milestone like 200 rides,” said Masarrat.

She further added that the company can’t risk putting up the app on the app store or the play store since users may face challenges as it is manually operated at present.

Speaking to Siasat.com the founder and CEO of Dovely, Zainab Khatoon said, “The idea to create Dovely first struck me and originated from a conversation between me and my mom, who wanted to visit my granny and was looking for cost-effective and safe rides.”

The idea only came into existence following an unpleasant autorickshaw experience, aimed at ensuring women feel safe and secure during their journey.

“The idea struck me once again while I was travelling with my friend in an autorickshaw when the driver looked at us from the rear view mirror making me feel uncomfortable,” Zainab added.

“We sat down with our parents to discuss the name of the company. After going through about 400 names, our father came up with the name Dovely,” said Chief Operating Officer and co-founder Uzma.

“Apart from providing rides for women, the app also allows women to connect with us as Dovely partners. To access information regarding the platform one may visit the Dovely website. At the time of filing the story, Dovely successfully completed 37 rides,” Zainab said.

Addressing the query regarding profit sharing, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Obaid Ulla Khan said, “Currently all the money earned is being kept with the riders themselves, and we aren’t earning any commission.”

Bootstrapping for funding Dovely:

Running a startup is not an easy task and requires consistent funding. However, Obaid believes in “Bootstrapping”, where entrepreneurs fund their own ventures. “Even if we approach venture capitalists at this stage they would set milestones based on which they would provide the money, hence it is better that we set a milestone for ourselves before we reach out to investors.”

“In order to pitch the business idea, we are collecting all the information ranging from the number of riders to the number of users along with the IDs of our riders in an excel sheet, this will make it easier for us to attract investors,” he explained.

With regards to the credibility of the riders, Zainab said, “I personally handle the onboarding process for Dovely. As part of the hiring process we ourselves take long distance rides with the candidates to test their driving skills.”

On Safety

Shedding light on the steps taken to ensure the safety of the riders and passengers, Uzma said, “One of us is constantly checking on the live location from the beginning to the end of the ride, and the riders are only supposed to switch off the live location after completing the ride.”

Adding to Zainab’s response, Obaid said “More than the candidate’s driving skills, we focus on their behaviour since we want to provide the best possible service to our customers”

Addressing the query on whether riders have to be logged in for a specific period of time on a daily basis, he said, “Keeping in mind the household responsibilities of our partners, we don’t have any specific login timings for now.”

A few Dovely partners were also present during the interview and they shared their experience with Siasat.com. Nahera Lohreen, one of the partners said,” The first ride was a bit challenging since I was hesitant as to how it would go, but after a while, I felt comfortable and it has been a great experience.”

Nahera is also the first partner to be roped in by Dovely.

Zareena Begum, another partner with the firm said,” It is a great opportunity since it gives us financial independence and I was looking forward to such an opportunity”

Speaking of future plans, the company’s CEO Zainab said, “As of now we are focusing on a minimum of 10 rides per day, we will gradually expand into three and four-wheeler markets.”

She further said, “Apart from bike taxis, we are planning to deal with transport and logistics which will also be led by women. The greater vision of the company is to empower women across India and make them financially independent.”

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