Women in Tech: Richa Balla
Hi Richa, so what’s your story?
Well, I started off my career working in banking. I developed pretty thick skin being in that environment and learnt a certain level of discipline, but it wasn’t giving me the skills I needed to start my own company, so I made the decision to move to Silicon Valley. I only had 2 years on my visa so I immersed myself in the environment and concentrated on building my network. During this time, I learned a lot about the day to day running of a tech business and became accustomed to wearing many hats at work.
What were you doing before you created Pedals Delivery?
Back in London I set out to improve on a system I saw working quite well in San Francisco. I could get anything delivered straight to my door by bicycle. As a first step I started a flower delivery company called Petal & Cycle: on demand flowers in the city delivered by bicycle. My thought process being, if I could get flowers from A to B in one piece, I could pretty much deliver anything.
I learned a lot about the struggles from a customer perspective, namely high and fluctuating prices for deliveries but I also learnt a lot about the cyclists’ perspective. I started speaking to a lot of riders, from all walks of life and came to realize how disgruntled they were with the way things were currently being run in the delivery world. They are subject to mandatory shifts, paid really low wages and are required to only work for one company at a time oftentimes with a very unpredictable schedule. Lack of consideration for cyclists has led to substantial churn of riders at other delivery companies along with very low job satisfaction.
All of these gripes were feeding into a cycle (excuse the pun) which lead to dissatisfied cyclists, unhappy deliveries and poor customer experience. I realized that there was something we could do here.
Getting involved in Tech is still a new thing for women, what was the motivation for you?
It was a chance to add some actual value and build something from scratch.
How have you found your journey so far and what has been your greatest accomplishment?
It’s been a complete rollercoaster. Our biggest achievement so far has definitely been our seed fun raise. We managed to raise funds predominantly from angel investors we found on the Crowdfunding platform that we used, which was amazing validation for our idea.
What has been the most challenging thing so far?
Hiring people with a solid work ethic who actually believe in the product and the direction that you are taking it in. I’m open to having constant discussions about the company and what we are doing well and what we aren’t, but finding people with the correct motivations is always the challenge.
Do you think more women should get involved in Tech and why?
Yes! It’s hard to not make any sweeping statements here though. Women are very good at some things that would be very useful to startups…
What advice would you give to young female entrepreneurs who are stuck on an idea?
Talk to everyone you know. Keeping things under wraps hinders your chances of every starting anything. You’ll find connections in the most unexpected places so give yourself a fighting chance by not being afraid to tell people about your ideas and ask for advice. It can only help your cause.
What does it mean to be a female tech entrepreneur and what challenges do you think women face in the industry?
The same that they face in any fast paced and slightly high-pressured environment: coming across badly when they are a little pushy and aggressive. This is just something that I feel will change over time as we get more and more women in high powered positions.
Overview of how Pedals Delivery works:
Pedals is a pedal powered courier service providing eco-conscious companies and individuals with a green, hassle-free and affordable option for delivering goods. We've created an environmentally sustainable and reliable distribution strategy, and are reinvigorating existing courier services with personal, old school bicycle delivery to transport products with care, precision and speed.
Pedals (pedals-delivery.com), is a London-based, pedal powered bicycle courier service providing eco-conscious companies and individuals with a green, hassle-free and affordable option for delivering goods from A to B throughout the city within 90 minutes.
From as little as £6.70, customers can hire cyclists for bespoke distribution of goods by simply specifying a pick-up location, drop-off destination and precise time slot; no pre-booking required.
For multiple deliveries, cyclists can be hired by the hour for as little as £15. Pedals automatically works out the quickest and safest route for our team of pro cyclists, so businesses and individuals can put their feet up and let us do the legwork for them.
Startups in the early growth phase are currently our biggest customers. We pick up the slack when orders begin to ramp up and there are no formal logistics in place. As they grow we guide them towards our own reasonable, environmentally friendly distribution network for London. The green delivery option is then built into their brand as it grows, appealing to the growing number of eco-conscious customers out there.
Pedals already works with some of London’s most exciting startups including energy boosting Modo Drinks, miracle hangover cure Ohayo Tomorrow and healthy snack makers Pip & Nut.
How to find Pedals Delivery: