The rise of Doordash: From Palo Alto to Toronto

Shot of a masked man delivering a food package
Shot of a masked man delivering a food package

While still gripping the globe, Covid-19 has given birth to yet another unicorn; Doordash. Surprisingly, this quarantine-fueled business has shot up in popularity and valuation alike! It all started in 2020 when covid struck like a cobra and forced every soul indoors. The real question is, how did they grow so rapidly? 

Ordering food from the comfort of our homes is a decade-old idea, which is more practical than ever, given the situation we’re all in! So, their core idea is definitely relevant and makes perfect sense. However, the idea is definitely not the answer. Revolutionaries aren’t the only ones who build unicorns. And besides, ideas are worth a dime a dozen.

Every sane entrepreneur knows that execution is everything!

Yet, with fierce competition, (Uber eats, Grubhub and InstaCart) Doordash made the largest third-party delivery system. But where did this delivery giant come from? 


In early 2013, 4 brilliant minds Evan Moore, Andy Fang, Tony Xu, and Stanley Tang were willing to take the risk of launching an online delivery service just 6 years after the launch of the first iPhone. They spend most of their time talking to a bakery shop owner by the name of Chloe. They studied her work schedule and the day-to-day operations of her business. However, their then delivery app barely solved any of her problems. All she wanted was to deliver items to her customers; simple. So, they went back to the drawing board, and fast forward to a few months, their four partners had already contributed to 200 deliveries, with the help of their new website ‘’! Moreover, Tony Xu, the now CEO secured 120 000 USD from Ycombinaor! And by 2014, they finally rebranded themselves to the currently famous ‘Doordash’. 

What makes Doordash different?  

As mentioned, the idea of delivering food isn’t new at all, and there exist more than a million delivery services in the U.S. alone. So what set Doordash apart?  

Being the first in Palo Alto: 

Business magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie once said, “The first one gets the oyster and the second one gets the shell”. Believe it or not, Doordash was one of the first players in the online food ordering business. And most importantly, they were the first ones in their city. They knew this and built their first prototype in mere hours, which led earned them a significant amount of customers to grow, gather additional funding and expand further. 

Focusing on logistics: 

Doordash was more of a logistics company than a food company. Their aim was to be the FedEx of food deliveries and help small restaurants grow while offering convenience and affordability to each of their customers. 

“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.” Says, which covers Doordash’s vision and shares the story on its platform. 

The most reliable outsourcers:

The majority of Doordash’s competitors were busy targeting small businesses that already possessed a delivery fleet. All they did was provide assistance! On the other hand, Doordash acted as an outsourcer; helping their partners by providing their own fleet. So, if any restaurant wishes to start delivering, they can directly outsource to Doordash. Furthermore, Doordash was gaining traction fast, and had also secured their second round of funding, totaling 24 USD million dollars by Khosla ventures! 

With these three reasons, Doordash proved that it was a force to be reckoned with! 

Open to public markets and criticism alike: 

With money raining down from big clouds like Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, Doordash was expanding rapidly; they even made it to Toronto, Canada, and made their first acquisition! And on November 3, 2020, starting with just 100 USD dollars a share, Doordash had finally made itself public. But questions began to pop up. Many investors began to question whether Doordash would retain its valuation as covid restrictions begin to ease. These questions didn’t just pop out of nowhere, though. They were driven by the launch of the covid vaccine, which indicated the ease of covid restrictions. Although experts say that our lives will be more or less the same after the pandemic, only time will tell if Doordash is overvalued or otherwise. Because as of now, the Doordash stock is going as strong as ever! 

If you wish to know more about startups, I recommend reading ‘The Startup Owner’s Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company’

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