DoorDash began with a simple mission: to enable every merchant to deliver.
Our story began back in the fall of 2012 at a small macaroon store in downtown Palo Alto. The four of us were working on building technology for small business owners and getting feedback on an app we’d built. We spent a long time talking with Chloe, the store manager, learning about her day-to-day life. But in the end, our app didn’t solve her most important problems.
Just as we were about to leave, Chloe bursted out, “Well, there is one thing I wanted to show you.” She took out a thick booklet. It was pages and pages of delivery orders. “This drives me crazy. I have no drivers to fulfill them and I’m the one doing all of it.”
And that was the lightbulb moment.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we interviewed over 200 small business owners all over the Bay Area – from San Mateo to Mountain View – and we kept hearing the same thing over and over again: deliveries are painful.
At the same time, we had a strong need ourselves. We all came from big cities where food delivery was a common thing. But out in Palo Alto, none of the restaurants delivered. So we decided to do something about it. We put our coding hats on and built our initial prototype in a few hours.
January 2013, Palo Alto Delivery was born.
Half an hour later, we got a phone call – it was our first order! Next thing we knew, we were delivering food every single day all over the Stanford campus. We were students by day, delivery drivers by night. We learned so much as drivers that we now have every team member start as a driver in their first week at our company. We later changed our name to DoorDash in June.
Since then, the team at DoorDash has been working insanely hard to do everything we can to provide the best delivery experience: from hiring drivers, working with restaurants, delighting customers to building out our complex, dispatch system.
When we first started, we were trying to solve our own problem of getting food delivered. But soon, it grew quickly within the Stanford community and beyond. We found out that many families and office workers in the area have the same problem. When we deliver food, it’s as much about delivering happiness as it is about bringing convenience.
Ultimately, our vision is to build the local, on-demand Fedex. We are a logistics company more so than a food company. We help small businesses grow, we give underemployed people meaningful work, and we offer affordable convenience to consumers. We’re tackling some of the most difficult logistical challenges that come with on-demand delivery – both in engineering and in operations.
In the mean time, we’re excited to announce that we raised our $2.4 million seed round from a terrific group of investors that includes: Khosla Ventures (Keith Rabois – former COO of Square, Yelp Board member), Charles River Ventures (Saar Gur), SV Angel, Paul Buchheit (Creator of Gmail), Pejman Mar Ventures (Pejman Nozad), Andy Rachleff (co-founder of Benchmark), and Russell Siegelman (former KPCB partner).
We’re looking to expand the founding team and grow into new cities. We want people who are excited about our mission to empower small businesses and build out the world’s first real-time logistics company. Let us know if you’re interested in joining us.
More to come!