It was 2001 and American Will Shu was fresh out of college with a shiny new job at Morgan Stanley, New York. The money was awesome but the 100-hour workweek… not so much. Every evening, Shu and his colleagues would line up takeout menus, spend their $25 dinner allowance and complain about their bosses.
In 2004, Shu moved to the London office. Different city, same hours—without the late night choice of eateries. A new delivery app called Just Eat would later seem to answer his prayers, except with restaurants he didn’t recognize, and often a long wait.
He wanted hot food from nice restaurants within 30 minutes! He ran his idea by software developer friend Greg Orlowski, but their initial plan, which included handheld tablets, wasn’t so viable. By 2010 however, smartphones were everywhere. And by 2013, the duo launched Deliveroo, starting with 3 local Chelsea restaurants.
Now, if you’re thinking that Shu ditched a fat finance salary to become a scooter delivery boy, then you’d be absolutely right. For the first eight months, Shu delivered the food himself. And when he rang the door of a confused former colleague, he handed over his pizza with a smile.
City by city, the business grew, from London to Brighton to Paris and Berlin. Today they boast 200+ cities* worldwide.
At Deliveroo’s headquarters in London, Shu’s first delivery scooter is spray painted in gold. It serves as a reminder to take the big idea and ride with it.
ARE YOU CLIMBING THE STAIRS?
Behind exceptional accomplishments there is a crazy leap. You don’t create a car by making a faster horse. You don’t reach the sky by climbing the stairs. For all things groundbreaking, someone, somewhere took a counterintuitive, risky decision that made all the difference.
© Story by Tarek Issa.