Y Combinator-Backed DoorDash Delivers Food Quickly In South Bay, Hopes To Expand Beyond Food

DoorDash, a Y Combinator summer ‘13 company, delivers food from restaurants in Palo Alto and Mountain View in an average time of 45 minutes. Sound familiar? It’s a crowded space, but while competitors like Seamless and GrubHub offer users an app to order food from any restaurant that has its own drivers and delivery-system setup, DoorDash hires and manages its own drivers, so it can bring you food from restaurants that don’t have their own delivery drivers. That may not seem like a big difference, but for the suburbs and college campuses, it’s a welcome change from having just pizza and Chinese food places offering delivery. DoorDash charges $6 per delivery with no minimum order size, and currently delivers lunch (11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) and dinner (5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.) every day. The company currently delivers to Palo Alto, Stanford, Menlo Park, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View from 50 restaurants in the area. Fluc, another startup we recently covered, is doing something fairly similar, but is more expensive--Fluc charges $5.95 per order and inflates menu prices a bit, whereas DoorDash charges $6 per order and doesn’t inflate menu prices. DoorDash partners with the restaurants they deliver from, so they take a cut from the restaurant’s side of things, not from the consumer. DoorDash was founded by four Stanford students: Evan Charles Moore worked on the founding team of Vevo; Tony Xu was at Square and Red Laser/eBay; and Andy Fang and Stanley Tang spent a summer together at Facebook. Moore and Xu were friends in Stanford’s business school, and Fang and Tang are undergrads. Moore and Tang had worked on a project together in a class in the spring of 2012, and later decided to work together on DoorDash, bringing in the other two. In February, they built a prototype, Palo Alto Delivery, in one day to gauge demand. Half an hour later, they had their first order and soon they were delivering food every day around campus. The four of them did the first 200 deliveries by themselves; they say they learned so much as drivers that they have new team members start as drivers. I used DoorDash (then called Palo Alto Delivery) several times in the spring and really liked it. On campus at Stanford there aren’t a ton of options for delivery, so I was very willing to pay $6 to get better food delivered every once in awhile. One of the new features I’m most excited about is Group Order, in which you can split the bill with a group of friends through DoorDash but still have all the food come in one order. “Our ultimate goal is to enable merchants to deliver locally,” Tang says. He notes that restaurants are a good place to start, as the company has been able to grow really quickly (they doubled total deliveries in the past two weeks), and they hope to grow both geographically and, eventually, beyond just food delivery. Disclosure: I'm a rising senior at Stanford. Fang and Tang are the same year as me. I've meet Fang a couple times, and I haven't met any of the other co-founders at DoorDash. This doesn't affect my ability to report on DoorDash.
Billy Gallagher

Billy Gallagher is a Writer at Gigabuzz, focused on covering early-stage startups, especially those with a technology focus and great perks.

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