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The Story Of Deliveroo And Why The Best Time To Act Is Now

Back in 2003, William Shu was a 24-year-old Chinese born American living in New York who had just completed a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and working as an Associate Analyst at Morgan Stanley.

Some would say that he was sorted… A university graduate with a solid foot in the door in one of the world’s largest financial services firms, living in the big apple and opportunities were endless.

But for Shu, he had plans to leave his birth country and travel to live and work in London, where he quickly secured a new role but had to also work late nights in restaurants and bars in the popular Canary Wharf to make ends meet.

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Whilst working in the hospitality industry to earn extra cash, Will Shu’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and he saw opportunity knocking.

Popular restaurants could only host a certain amount of sittings per night and restaurateurs all over were limited to how much revenue they could earn.

Will had a solution to this world-wide problem, and it was of course Deliveroo. An online ordering platform to order food from various restaurants that might ordinarily be out of reach due to limited bookings or travel distance.

BB Infographic - Deliveroo
Deliveroo was officially launched in London in August 2013, and initially had only 2 restaurants on board that Shu had convinced to get involved with his vision. Recruiting good childhood friend Greg Orlowski to come on board as co-founder, the pair got to work with launching their new business and locking in restaurants across town.

Just 12 months later, realising their idea had legs, and after an ego-boost of confidence by the two Chelsea based restaurants getting on board and having significant success, Shu and Orlowski knew that this was going to be huge. But in order to help achieve their dreams, they need to find money fast.


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This is when the first round of investment came in the way of securing $4.5M in Series A Funding. This allowed them to expand and launch in Brighton, which was the first city outside of London to have the food delivery app. And things were quickly starting to take off.

Will and Greg knew that this wasn’t an overnight success, but realised that it could either quickly take off or quickly crash and burn. They needed to systemise and expand rapidly. But were also running out of money.

In January 2015, their Series B Funding round saw them raise $25M from various investors, and only 6 months later in July, they raised an additional $70M in funding. This allowed them to launch in over 30 cities in the UK and Ireland over the space of the next year or so.

Deliveroo has agreements with over 10,000 restaurants across 84 cities in 12 countries, employees over 13,000 full time staff and around 20,000 delivery riders on a “self-employed” basis. They have raised $474.59M in funding and is today valued at over $800M.

It’s never too late to start something new. You may have had an idea years ago that you just never got around to launching, or maybe someone told you that it was a bad idea or you just didn’t have the right tools, strategies, information and support that you needed to succeed.

If you’re a business owner, or if you have ever had an urge to start your own business, or even if you just have an idea. Start today. We’d love for you to join us at our free 1-Day Business Workshop called 52 Ways. It’s quite simply the best 1-day business workshop, EVER.

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