Stanford University students Tony Xu, Andy Fang and Stanley Tang had a revelation seven years ago in a Palo Alto macaroon store.

The shop’s owner showed them pages and pages of delivery orders she hadn’t been able to fulfil. Demand wasn’t high enough to hire a full-time delivery person, but there was no way she could drop off all the orders herself. It was a story the three heard again and again as they worked to understand how they could leverage technology to help small businesses.

In the early days of the company, DoorDash co-founder and chief executive Tony Xu helped delivered the food himself.

In the early days of the company, DoorDash co-founder and chief executive Tony Xu helped delivered the food himself.Credit:Bloomberg

They decided to build a basic web page with menus from local restaurants to see if there was demand for a delivery business. “It was super simple, ugly, and honestly we weren’t really expecting anything,” Tang said at a Stanford lecture years later. “All of a sudden we got a phone call – someone called! They wanted to order Thai food.”

Now, those three are billionaires as the company they founded – San Francisco-based DoorDash – went public. DoorDash sold 33 million shares Tuesday for $US102 each in an initial public offering, raising $US3.37 billion, then watched as the price jumped to $US182 at Wednesday’s opening.



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