Deliveroo – if you are an entrepreneur in food delivery domain you would definitely have heard this name. Headquartered in Soho, London Deliveroo has offices and operates in 84 cities across more than a dozen countries I.e. the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Australia, Singapore, Dubai, and Hong Kong. Deliveroo employs more than 13,000 employees and has about 20,000 self employed couriers on rolls. Deliveroo delivers for more than 8000 restaurants.
Deliveroo was started in year 2013 and has grown from strength to strength – growing at a steady rate of 25℅ per month. Below is the details of funding deliveroo has received during the period of 2014-2016-
- June 2014, Deliveroo’s first funding round of £2.75 million series A investment by Index Ventures and Hoxton Ventures leading the round
- January 2015, received its 2nd round $25 million in series B funding largely from Index Ventures, Hummingbird Ventures & Hoxton Ventures
- July 2015, further $70 million in series C investment from Index Ventures and Greenoaks Capital was pumped into the system.
- November 2015, Deliveroo got $100 million in Series D round
- August 2016, In Series E Deliveroo got a whopping $275 million from Bridgepoint.
Though as a whole Deliveroo has not grown profitable till last year – It is rumored that Deliveroo grows profitable in each city as same rate as Uber.
Lets look at the story behind the founder of this phenomenal company.
William Shu – founder of Deliveroo is a Chinese born(the Chinese here also:)) American from new York. He completed his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University in year 2003 and age 24. After his education he joined Morgan Stanley as Associate Analyst.
Seed of Deliveroo were planted in Williams mind when he was transferred to London when working at Morgan Stanley. William had a modest financial background so had to work after hours in restaurants and bars at Canary Wharf to make ends meet.
New York, from where William had recently moved had a full blown and grown food delivery ecosystem. The lack of food delivery services in London was where William saw the opportunity and need. As an office goer himself he realized how time-consuming and frustrating it was to walk down to burger King or Tesco to buy his lunch. He sorely missed his New York delivery guys.
During that time London food-delivery scene was in nascent phase. Justeat had launched in London in 2006.
William left his job and went to Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania to study Masters of Business Administration. He graduated from here in 2012. He took Greg Orlowski a computer programmer and his childhood friend as a co-founder and started deliveroo in Feb 2013.
William himself was the first delivery guy. He spent the entire year of 2013 driving his scooter around the suburbs of Chelsea in Central London for nearly 6-8 hours a day, 7 days a week. This gave him a first hand understanding of the logistical network he was building. Even though William came from a zero logistics background this 10 months gave him the experience that no business school can give. The secret of Deliveroo’s growth is Williams being hyper-focused on logistics and keeping the entire structure lean and mean.
There are lot of stories on how William faced the early days of startup along the way. His friends would order all the time just to see him deliver food because they thought it was super funny. They were bankers and they thought it was really funny but they kept ordering and William kept delivering. And then one time, an old colleague ordered who he hadn’t spoken to in about four or five years and he used to work at the hedge fund with him. William got to this really big house in Knightsbridge and this guy opens the door and he looks at him and he’s like ‘Will, what are you doing?’ will didn’t remember him too well so he was like ‘Excuse me?’ and he asked ‘Are you okay?’ and will was like ‘Yes, I’m just here to deliver your pizzas’. He thought will was absolutely insane and had lost it. Will got that a lot in the beginning.
Their business grew slowly but steadily in the initial phase more through word of mouth publicity and less through digital or any other sort of marketing as neither will nor Greg were marketing and sales people. Initially they spread across only in london. This entire phase was self funded. Their first city outside of London was Brighton and then to Manchester. In April 2015 deliveroo launched in Paris, Berlin and Dublin. Rest is history in start-up and food delivery world.
It’s stories like these that inspire me and millions of entrepreneurs to give up their secure cushy jobs and face the uncertainty of a start-up to create something unique, something new that only they had imagined.
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