Interview with Arpit Dave, Co-Founder at RoadRunnr

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The hyper-local delivery startups have surely been popular amongst investors last season and they are looking for startups that facilitate quick and efficient delieveries. This is quite evident from the heavy cheques that these delivery startups are receiving as they focus on an unaddressed pain point. RoadRunnr is one such company which is catering to the business-to-business delivery needs of companies.

RoadRunnr is an on-demand B2B delivery startup which charges a fee per delivery from its clients. The company caters to restaurants, merchants and e-commerce companies to manage their delivery needs in a cost effective manner without compromising on the quality of service. It uses freelance walkers and cyclists to get the packets delivered to the customers and thus is able to provide service at much cheaper rates. This Bangalore based company was co-founded by ex-Flipkart employees Mohit Kumar and Arpit Dave, and it also has employees from Ola and Amazon in its workforce. The company has received a funding of around $11 million from Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, and Blume Ventures last year which it plans to use for enhancing technology and also expand the delivery network nationally.

Here is a small interview with Arpit Dave, the co-founder of the company.

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Give us a snapshot of your professional journey till now.

I started my career with Flipkart in Bangalore and worked there for about 2 years, with initial 4 months in the business development team. I later moved into product management, where I was part of the ideation to roll out various critical seller platform products to enable listing management, and ease the overall listing experience of  sellers on the Flipkart marketplace.

When & how did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?

It was when studying in IIT Kharagpur, I was part of the Entrepreneurship Cell for three years. Working with start-ups as part of this cell got me interested in entrepreneurship. I think the start-up bug has always been in me since a young age. I founded a start up called Exyle Explosives while in college. The aim was to reduce the cost of explosives in the mining industry. The start-up did not result in a big success but it did resulted in us getting a patent filed for it.

What were the early days at Roadrunnr like?

The early days were the informative days for us. We did all the ground work ourselves, that included making deliveries ourselves. It was a very interesting time as this helped us understand the industry better, connect with merchants, get to know their needs & requirements, and perceive customer expectations. This learning taught us where the gap in the industry lies and how our delivery business made sense.

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Can you please describe what a typical day at office is like?

A typical day at Roadrunnr is dynamic and challenging. No two days are the same which is the best thing about working for yourself. We’re constantly tackling issues and problems. They could range from simple tech problems to managing and building scale for the systems to make ground operations run seamlessly.

The best part of working here is the way we are always looking for the best ways to maximise utilisation of our resources through better processes or data.

Can you tell us about the technology stack used at Roadrunnr?

We use lot of micro services built on different technology stacks such as RoR, Python, Scala, Android and Angular.

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Is there any technology that you’re personally betting on to help you scale up?

Nothing at the moment.

How are you using business intelligence and analytics at your company?

We’re using a robust data pipeline set up; this transforms existing business data into analytically interpretable events and entities. In addition to this, we also use business intelligence tools like Periscope and Tableau to give visibility of these events and entities to business. For engineering and product analytics need, we use tools like Graphite, New Relic and Mix Panel.

How else does technology help your company stand apart from its rivals?

Tech infra helps build lean business operations and processes. This helps us minimise the use of human resources wherever possible. In addition to this, since technology orchestrates guide ground operations, a huge amount of optimization is achieved.

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What has been the biggest technical challenge you’ve faced while running Roadrunnr?

With the scale of business increasing at such an aggressive rate, scaling up systems to run efficiently as well as providing visibility to our operations and business teams have been the biggest technical challenges for us.

What are some of the attributes you look out for in prospective technology employees?

We are always looking for problem solvers with strong basics. At the same time modesty, humility, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn are definite deal sealers.

How do you keep up to date with the latest happenings in the technology world?

We try to follow a lot of tech blogs that keep me updated on the latest tech developments. Some of my favourites are TechCrunch, I Am Wire, TECHINASIA and Gizmodo. In addition to this the constant process of everyone in team proposing and experimenting with new technical developments helps us in keeping ourselves up to date.

What gets you excited about coming to work every day?

I love the problem solving nature of the job, and I like the fact that change in this sort of business is a constant thing.

What sets Roadrunnr engineering culture apart?

We try to keep a right balance between accountability and responsibility, thus letting engineers to take ownership for the pieces they work on. In addition to this, our robust product development processes and infra setup allows us to improve efficiency along with maintaining a good quality of products we release.

Which Roadrunnr value resonates best with you?

At Roadrunnr we challenge the industry standards and always find creative ways and solutions for set norms in the industry. And this is something that resonates with me as well.

Any piece of advice for the techies out there?

Keep your fundamentals strong and try to build an aptitude for approaching any problem without any pre-set assumptions. Be open to criticism, feedback is what makes you learn and improve.

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