We put together a list of the top YC companies by valuation as of October 2018. You can see that list at https://ycombinator.com/topcompanies.
Here’s a Q&A with Tony Xu, co-founder, and CEO of DoorDash, one of the companies featured on the list.
What does DoorDash make/do?
DoorDash was founded with the goal of being the last-mile logistics layer that empowers businesses to thrive in the digital and convenience economy. We connect people with possibility by empowering merchants to grow their businesses by offering on-demand delivery, data-driven insights, and better in-store efficiency, while providing delightful experiences from door to door for consumers in more than 1,200 cities in the US and Canada.
How many employees does DoorDash have?
DoorDash has more than nearly 900 employees
What is your most impressive recent product milestone?
The expansion of DoorDash Drive, our white label service that enables any merchant to offer delivery directly to their customers using Dashers to fulfill orders, has enabled DoorDash to go beyond restaurants, taking us one step closer to becoming the last mile logistics layer for local businesses.
DoorDash Drive is designed to handle large catering orders, complex supply chain requirements, or simply fulfill orders that come in through the merchant’s website by allowing restaurants to tap into DoorDash’s operational expertise and existing Dasher fleet. This spring, through the Drive technology platform, DoorDash launched its first national grocery partnership with Walmart – expanding to 300 stores across the country in its first six months – and will continue to rollout this proven model to power deliveries in new areas in retail and beyond. In addition, restaurants like Chipotle, among others, now use DoorDash Drive to power their web and mobile delivery (directly through their site or app).
What is the larger impact / societal impact of your product in the space you work within?
Earlier this year, we kicked off a program called Project DASH (DoorDash Acts for Sustainability and Hunger), our initiative focused on tackling the problems of hunger and food waste in the local communities we serve. The average restaurant has 100,000 pounds of excess food every year but only 1.4% of that is donated today, while hunger issues are faced by 1 in 8 Americans.
Project DASH takes our core ability to solve intensely difficult logistics problems and applies it to the deceptively convoluted problem of restaurant food waste (transportation is the biggest barrier to donating food). As part of Project DASH, we’ve partnered with Feeding America and are powering their MealConnect platform, which serves as a hub for food donations that links surplus food with local nonprofits. We’re using our logistics products, specifically DoorDash Drive, to help reduce food waste and power deliveries to food banks.
What’s an interesting element of DoorDash’s company culture?
From day one, DoorDash employees have “dashed” monthly to keep connected to the company’s audiences and help improve the product. Now, through WeDash For Good, all funds earned during these “dashes” are donated to Feeding America through an official partnership and company-wide initiative focused on tackling the massive problem of food waste and hunger.
Looking back, what motivated you to start DoorDash?
DoorDash was founded with the goal of being the last-mile logistics layer that empowers businesses to thrive in the digital and convenience economy. As a first-generation American growing up working in my mom’s restaurant, my co founders and I started DoorDash to help small-business owners succeed. As consumers increasingly value convenience over almost any other factor, restaurants big and small have had to adjust their business models to incorporate the shift towards on-demand. And it’s not only impacting restaurants, there’s a shift to convenience across industries. From grocery looking to advance their business, to brick and mortar retailers continuing to adjust to the e-commerce boom, DoorDash recognized a growing need for a last-mile solution and developed the technology to propel local and national partners into a new era of convenience.
Is what you’re working on now the original idea or did you pivot?
Today DoorDash follows the same principle as day one which leads with a merchant-first approach, offering a suite of products to our restaurant partners, ensuring the highest quality delivery, every single time. With our products and integrations for merchants, we ensure faster and more accurate deliveries, and our in-house support system offers best-in-class service that solves customer problems in real-time. We continue to level the playing field by being the logistics platform that empowers local businesses everywhere to extend beyond – whether its a local mom and pop shop or a national restaurant partners like The Cheesecake Factory.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with a young founder?
My motto when making any decision—in work or life—is to have the most fun and least regrets. This explains why I feel so lucky doing what I do every day. Building a company as fast-growing as DoorDash is like always sprinting uphill. When getting started, I’d practice the following:
- Understand every detail of the problem you’re solving. No one can be more of an expert than you at the problem.
- Start small and test quickly. Most decisions at your startup are reversible, so optimize for speed of execution and learning.
- Don’t fake it; trust your instincts and be the best version of yourself, not what you think others want you to be.