During a time when phone apps have yet to take off, coming up with a concept that solves one of the most important daily questions of any individual seemed farfetched yet for Will Shu, the idea made sense. Deciding what to eat on a daily basis has plagued the average employee with limited options or even worse, precious time spent preparing meals in the morning. Enter Deliveroo, an idea born out of a need which turned into a daily life enhancer.
Takeaway food in London’s Canary Wharf
Will Shu, the founder of Deliveroo spent the early 2000s working as a banking analyst for Morgan Stanley in New York, eating $25 takeout food and working endless hours. Not long after, his move to London made the situation depressing with tighter budgets and limited choices. As time went by, Shu started seeing competitors such as “Just Eat” take off yet not in the manner he imagined his own idea would work.
Shu got in touch with Greg Orlowski, a developer and old school friend. The two attempted Deliveroo together but technology back then was not conducive to such innovation and the lack of development efforts towards phone apps made the idea increasingly difficult. A few years later, Shu would go on to establish Deliveroo where he worked as the first delivery person in an effort to understand if his concept would truly work.
Challenges facing Deliveroo’s gig economy
As the company obtained round after round of funding, it’s operations expanded across multiple cities in several countries. This was further boosted by an eventual $500 million investment by Amazon, giving a percentage to the e-commerce giant. This was not without its string off issues which haunted the company for years ahead.
The firm relies on individuals riding bikes, motorcycles and even scooters to deliver food, the area on how those individuals are treated remained a heavy gray. On the one hand, they are freelancers, paid adequately and part of a fast growing company but at the same time, they do not receive the same benefits and facilities of regular employees.
Uber, Grocery delivery, Covid-19 and discouraging IPO
The growth attracted the attention of Uber who initiated early talks to buy the firm with valuation expected at over $2 billion. While this move never manifested beyond talks, it proved to be a period of spotlight as the company explored new ventures including a partnership with major grocery outlets for delivery. The success was rather short lived despite the continued growth and improving numbers as Covid-19 hits and changes the entire dynamic of how we live our days.
8 years from when Deliveroo became official, the firm went public during the last week of March, 2021. On the first day of trading, the stock moved sharply lower due to a variety of reasons including lack of profitability, gig economy concerns and risk aversion among investors. Nonetheless, and as the Covid-19 situation eases with vaccines rolling out, Deliveroo is set to bounce up within societies and expand into new territories as more and more people seek ways to keep daily life efficient following a drastic and highly unusual 2020.
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