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When it comes to entrepreneurship and starting a business, the first step is to identify a real-world problem, an unfulfilled need, or an existing solution that doesn’t work very well.
To overcome the delivery issues for small company owners, the world’s largest food delivery service was founded. Today, we’ll look at one of the great minds responsible for the invention of DoorDash: Stanley Tang, the company’s co-founder and chief product officer.
Stanley Tang was born in 1992. He grew up in Hong Kong. Back then, Hong Kong was still under British rule before they handed the territory back to China in 1997. He now resides in San Francisco, California.
Stanley Tang pursued a degree in computer science at Stanford University In 2011. That’s how Stanley met with DoorDash co-founders. At Stanford, he got exposed to many aspects of the technology industry.
He mentioned facing a language barrier when he joined Stanford since he came from Hong Kong, where British English is prevalent. He saw a tremendous difference between American English and British English.
Stanley also attended a startup school in Stanford in 2010.
It was the ideal opportunity to meet incredible entrepreneurs who had been through the Startup Wars, faced the battles, and triumphed. It was a source of inspiration in the corporate sector. Among the people he met and interacted with was Mark Zuckerberg.
Stanley was fascinated by technology. He began building stuff when he was just a child. He first used a computer at three.
He could create simple websites for himself and his friends just for fun, mainly about soccer and magic tricks. After receiving those dreaded, unsuspecting spam emails, he realized he could make money from this. The video primarily discussed setting up a blog and making money with Google Adsense.
After watching it, he thought he could make this one of his weekend projects, but he became too engrossed in it, and that’s how his venture into the online business grew during his teenage life and generated tens of thousands of dollars on the internet.
Stanley Tang became interested in internet marketing at the young age of 14.
Tang wrote Emilions: Behind The Scenes Stories of 14 Successful Internet Millionaires when he was only 14 years old.
It’s essentially a collection of interviews he conducted with internet moguls about their rags-to-riches stories, how they got their start, how they overcame adversity, and what they did to rocket themselves to the top of the charts.
And through his vision, he hopes to inspire others to succeed and take action.
Stanley came up with the idea first and announced the audition process when he was only 14 years old. He persuaded 14 world’s leading entrepreneurs by writing a good email proposal outlining what he expected from them. He sent out hundreds of email proposals and mostly ignored them.
Mark Joyner, Yanik Silver, Willie Crawford, and Rob Cowie are among the top internet millionaires he interviewed.
He released Emilions in December 2008, and it quickly rocketed to the top of the Amazon Best-Seller lists. Stanley was the world’s youngest best-selling author when he was 14 years old.
Stanley Tang, together with Tony Chen, founded BuzzBlaze in 2010. It was a social news aggregation platform that allowed users to find and share articles on the internet.
The project began as a boredom project. They came up with the domain name BuzzBlaze.com to create a better RSS reader.
Because he knew a lot about internet marketing, he established a secret beta landing page to advertise the app. They employed MailChimp as their marketing strategy to collect email addresses and ended up with a pre-launch list of roughly 2000 subscribers.
He got over 220 users within the first 12 hours for BuzzBlaze - the social RSS reader.
However, traffic immediately declined, and three weeks later, there were no active users. This was brought in with poor user experience, as the site was slow. BuzzBlaze was shut down and moved on two months later.
Stanley created a TaskMob, an iPhone software that featured a simple and attractive to-do list. It was only available in 2011 on the App Store. The project didn’t work out as he expected.
Career at Facebook
Stanley Tang worked as a software engineer at a social media and social networking company from June to September 2012, also known as Facebook, Inc.
Door Dash is an American company that offers an online food ordering and delivery service with its headquarters in San Francisco, USA. In the United States, it is the largest food delivery company.
It also has a 60 percent market share in the convenience delivery category with 450,000 merchants, 20,000,000 consumers, and 1 million deliverers as of 31 December 2020.
The co-founders of DoorDash Include Tony Xu, Stanley Tang, Andy Yang, and Evan Moore (who left the company after only 17 months)
The idea of creating Door dash began when Stanley was at Stanford, undertaking an undergraduate course in computer science. Stanley and the other co-founders met at Stamford as freshmen and classmates.
They all became friends because they were all passionate about assisting small businesses. The original concept of DoorDash was to work on a project centered on software or products to help local small business owners.
So they could speak with a slew of business owners near Stanford, such as restaurants, local retailers, flower shops, furniture stores, among other small businesses.
They sought to comprehend the problems they faced daily to resolve them.
The Big Idea
They walked into a macaroon shop on University Avenue and Palo Alto, and the owner mentioned a thick booklet, which she began turning over. It turned out that this was a booklet of all the orders with the words “canceled” on it—pages and pages of canceled delivery orders.
The owner of the macaroon shop could not fulfill these deliveries. She wanted to expand her business through delivery, but she didn’t have any drivers.
They also interviewed almost 200 small company owners from throughout the Bay Area, and they all agreed that the major challenge was deliveries.
That was a light bulb moment for Stanley Tang as they talked to more small business owners, and the delivery idea kept coming up repeatedly. Besides, they were all from big cities where food delivery was widespread. However, none of the restaurants in Palo Alto delivered. As a result, they took action. And this is where the concept of door dash came from.
Stanley and his friends conducted a simple experiment to see if customers wanted deliveries. They began with a restaurant in Palo Alto that did not provide food delivery to customers.
The Palo Alto Delivery: The precursor to DoorDash
They went to the restaurant’s websites, looked up their menus online, and created an ad that looked like a landing page with a few PDF menus. ‘Hey, do you want a delivery? Here are ten restaurants we found for you. Call this number..’
They planned to see if customers would ring that Google voice number and then take the idea to a macaron shop or other restaurant owner.
PaloAltoDelivery.com is an essential website they created and used to fulfill the first order they got.
The First Delivery
The first order for Thai food -shrimp pad Thai and egg rolls - arrived within hours. The original plan for the website was that if anybody called, they would tell them it wasn’t a serious thing and that it was only a test.
But, to avoid upsetting the initial caller, they gave it a shot and turned it into a learning experience. They received several phone calls after the initial delivery, and that’s when they made it happen.
Stanley and his friends were the first delivery drivers, and whenever they received calls during class, they could leave, get in their cars, and make the deliveries through the PaloAltoDelivery.com website.
The delivery fee, which was the only source of income for the company, was $6.
The word about this food delivery service had spread like wildfire through word of mouth. Soon everyone in Palo Alto and the surrounding area dialed the phone number.
They realized it was happening, and they should take it a little more seriously. They gave it a new name DoorDash and then launched it during summer in Palo Alto.
The DoorDash new logo came from the Japanese bullet train (Shinkansen) signifying the precision and speed of their deliveries.
The founders then hired a house to use as a home office. At one point, a two-bedroom apartment housed 15 people.
Y Combinator Funding
Y Combinator provides seed funding- the first round of venture capital. It covers your expenses while you’re starting.
After Palo Alto Delivery turned a profit, the founders applied to the renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator only six months after launching their company. The Y Combinator accepted their application but with reservations from Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail and a YC partner who reviewed founder applications.
Even after the three-month program ended, Y Combinator and Buchheit remained active in DoorDash’s development.
Stanley and the other founders occasionally spoke at events, and YC assisted DoorDash in raising Series A and C funding through the YC Continuity Fund. They raised a $2.4 million seed round from a terrific group of investors.
Door Dash Achievements
By 2016, the company cemented its food delivery industry position. DoorDash has surpassed incumbent GrubHub, and worldwide leader Uber Eats to become the market leader in the United States. DoorDash handled 45 percent of all meal delivery orders in 2020, giving them a double-digit lead over the competition.
DoorDash opened its first ghost kitchen, DoorDash Kitchen, in Redwood City, California, in October 2019, with four restaurants operating at the location.
DoorDash announced its entry on the New York Stock Exchange in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, where delivery services were in high demand.
It priced its stock at $102 per share, raising around $3.4 billion in its initial public offering, valuing the company at $39 billion—more than double its previous private market valuation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, DoorDash stockpiled tens of thousands of gloves and bottles of hand sanitizer and gave them away for free to delivery drivers.
The company also changed the default drop-off option to contactless delivery. DoorDash became the fastest-growing food delivery service that month.
Every month, DoorDash connects 18 million customers with 390,000 restaurants and other merchants such as CVS and 7-Eleven. Door dash has expanded to over 4,000 cities and offers a 340,000-store selection across the United States and Canada.
Over many financing rounds, DoorDash has raised more than $700 million from investors such as Charles River Ventures, SV Angel, Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, SoftBank, GIC, and Kleiner Perkins. The company is now worth more than $13 billion and is the world’s largest third-party delivery.
In August 2021, DoorDash celebrated the company’s most incredible milestone: fulfilling 2 billion orders. According to January 2022, DoorDash and its subsidiaries took 58 percent of meal delivery sales in the United States, while Uber Eats, the competitor, came in second with 24 percent.
Collaboration With 7-Eleven
Seven-Eleven and DoorDash have teamed up to expand consumer awareness through local promotions and in-store marketing. 7-Eleven is a convenience store with its headquarters chain in Dallas, Texas.
Food, drinks, convenience products, and even electronics are available at 7-Eleven locations. They started with 7-Eleven deliveries in Washington, DC, and Boston and quickly expanded to other cities.
As part of the partnership, DoorDash created “Convenience Packs.” The agreement with 7-Eleven was a formal move in expanding delivery beyond restaurants and a significant step toward boosting local economies by allowing delivery from various merchants and store types.
From the partnership, users will purchase “Convenience Packs,” the simplest way to get a quick set of things for frequent occasions such as watching a sports game, hosting a date night, or if you’ve caught a cold.
Customers can use DoorDash’s mobile app or website to make an order and have it delivered in an average of 45 minutes. For a limited period, the delivery service price is $2.99.
DoorDash announced its official launch in Japan in 2021, with Sendai as the first city. This was the company’s first foray into Asia and its third country outside the United States, following Australia and Canada. It was a strategy to boost local economies, particularly in underdeveloped suburban communities with significant services.
DoorDash now offers a diverse menu of cuisines ranging from sushi to fast food and easy ordering, and the ability to track your delivery, pick up your meal, and plan your deliveries for the most convenient times.
The app features a “Yum Score,” which ranks food quality and how effectively a business collaborates with DoorDash to deliver your food swiftly.
Where local regulations allow, DoorDash now enables you to order alcohol and mixers from local wine and liquor stores. A delivery directions box in DoorDash, like other top food delivery services, allows you to show where you’d like your meal left off for contact-free delivery. You may save on delivery fees with a DoorDash for $9.99 each month.
How Much are DoorDash founders Worth?
Stanley Tang’s Net Worth
Currently, Stanley Tang is a Co-Founder and the Head of DoorDash Labs, researching robotics, autonomous systems, and the future of last-mile delivery.
From May 2013 to November 2017, he was DoorDash’s, Chief Product Officer.
Stanley Tang’s net worth is estimated to be at least 18.1 million dollars as of 22 February 2022. Stanley Tang owns over 4,323 units of DoorDash Inc stock worth over $2,733,157 and has sold DASH stock worth over $15,349,427 in the last few years.
Andy Fang’s Net Worth
Andy is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at DoorDash.
Andy Fang’s net worth is estimated to be at least $18 million as of 1 March 2022. Andy Fang owns over 80,000 DoorDash Inc stock worth over $8,688,523 and has sold DASH stock worth over $9,350,305 in the last few years.
Tony Xu’s Net Worth
Tony is the co-founder and chief executive officer of DoorDash.
Tony Xu’s net worth is estimated to be at least 7.19 million dollars as of 11 January 2022. Tony Xu owns over 80,000 units of DoorDash Inc stock worth over $7,188,800.
Tang invests in different startups in his spare time.
In cooperation with Gloria Zhu, Stanley Tang created Bearcat Content in 2019, investing in unscripted content, documentaries, and new media startups.
Bearcat Content collaborates with creators, innovators, and individuals who give underserved people a voice.
It creates unscripted content, economic empowerment, social impact documentaries, and new media startups that push the industry and humanity’s narrative forward. The primary goal is to create a comprehensive and long-term portfolio for the modern media age.
Some documentaries successfully published include: ‘Liquor Store Dreams, a documentary exploring the lives of 2nd generation Korean Americans and their parents’ liquor stores.
Stanley Tang has made several startup investments. Their most recent acquisition was on:
It handles complete equipment maintenance for over 4,000 restaurant chains—12 October 2021, when Stanley Tang invested $39 million in Serie A Resq.
2. Rocket Academy
Rocket Academy is a new company that offers online coding classes in Singapore. Stanley invested SGD1.5M during pre-seed rocket academy funding.
Stanley appeared on the Forbes 30 under 30 consumer technology list in 2015 alongside co-founder Andy Fang. He was also recognized by Forbes 1580 Billionaires in 2021 and Gold house A 100, 2020’s Most Impactful Asians.
Stanley Tang is a high-stakes poker fanatic. He took part in a Hustler Casino Live session, where he attempted a daring $20,350 bluff. He is also a football fan of the England-based football club, Manchester United.
With his book eMillions, he became an Amazon best-selling author at 14; and at 22, he raised over $57 million in seed capital for DoorDash. Stanley uses the internet to assist offline small business owners in increasing sales by providing a superior customer experience.
Stanley donated $12,500 towards Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.
Also, at the start of COVID-19, Stanley played a charity poker tournament with Morning Brew in 2020. He urged his followers to play and give to the charity to aid front-line workers and restaurants.
“Success comes down to hard work plus passion, over time. If you work hard over a long period of time, it will pay off.”
The Key Takeaways
Stanley provided great insight into what good skills an entrepreneur should have. One of them is knowing the market gap. There were no delivery services in Palo alto like in the major cities. Stanley Tang and his team pointed out this gap.
Instead of going head to head with competition in the cities, they focused on underserved markets, which helped them gain traction and become the most superior delivery service in the world.
He also showed that there is no age requirement for someone to be an entrepreneur. He proved this by publishing a book when he was just 14 and earning a lot from it.
From little kids selling lemonade in stands to Girl Scouts selling their famous Girl Scout cookies, the entrepreneurial spirit skill does not get limited to someone with a college degree in business. But instead, it’s for anyone who has the skills, the perseverance to succeed, and the eye for market gaps and demands, just like Stanley Tang.