By Tony Xu, CEO and Co-founder
DoorDash was never about food and it was never about delivery. Rather, from the beginning, DoorDash was about empowering local businesses.
A little more than three years ago we had a simple idea: what if we used technology to build a marketplace that gives back to the local economy? Every time a customer ordered an item, it would support a business in their community, offer flexible work to their neighbor, and save them a few minutes in a busy day.
The company would need to be part software and part operations. There wouldn’t be much room for mistakes, so execution would be paramount and excellence would be key. We’d need to hire top engineers, big data specialists and machine learning scientists to build the platform, and we’d need to hire leading sales people, the best operators, and local experts to scale in every market.
Three years ago, that vision became a reality when we first launched DoorDash. At that time there were only a handful of us taking phone calls and placing orders. We used Find my Friends to track drivers. Our algorithm was pen and paper. Our website consisted of PDF menus from eight restaurants.
Today we are celebrating our three year birthday. And looking back on those early days, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come. DoorDash is now in 25 markets across more than 230 cities. We’ve grown to more than 200 employees with backgrounds ranging from academia to the military, and from consulting to top Silicon Valley technology companies. Tens of thousands of people around North America have flexible work opportunities on the DoorDash platform by being their own boss. And we’ve completed millions of deliveries, from San Diego, CA to Toronto, Canada, delivering people’s favorite food, whether that be KFC buckets or your city’s best steak.
It hasn’t been an easy ride. Actually, it mostly wasn’t. The first time the website went down we all rushed to the office to figure out how to make it up to our customers. We bought cookies, warmed them up and personally delivered them to people who tried to place an order that night. But we also had great times: moving into our first new office, launching our first market outside of the Bay Area, signing our first national partner, and many, many more.
We regularly talk to merchants on our platform and we’re proud to hear that the founding thesis of DoorDash three years ago still rings true today. Merchants are seeing new customers, gaining new revenue and creating entirely new business lines thanks to last-mile delivery. And from those first local restaurant partnerships we now work with Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, California Pizza Kitchen and thousands upon thousands more.
We often say that the first version of DoorDash will take 10 years to build, and as of today we’ve only just past year three. We will continue to grow both in the US and internationally, we will continue to sign new partners, and we will expand beyond food so that you can truly get anything you need brought to your door. But along the way we will never lose focus of that core founding vision – to use the DoorDash marketplace as a force for empowering people across local markets. Whether you’re a customer, a Dasher or a restaurant partner we thank you for helping make DoorDash what it is today. And we look forward to continuing to serve you in the years to come.