William Shu, the CEO of Deliveroo, frequently grabs a bicycle and delivers pizzas himself, mainly on the weekends, he told Business Insider at Web Summit in Dublin.
His customers have no idea who he is when he shows up with their food.
Deliveroo has taken about $US100 million in investment funding since its founding in 2012/2013. The company is like the Uber of restaurant food delivery — it takes a fee from customers and the restaurants they order from, and delivers food to your door in 30 minutes or less. A year ago the company had 12 employees, today it has about 250 across 30 cities in the UK and 15 elsewhere in Europe.
Shu delivered food himself pretty much every day for the first 10 months of the company’s history.
“I still do it on the weekends,” he says. “Not every week, but I do it for fitness and because it’s fun.” Yet only a handful of people ever realise that the guy on the bicycle with their dinner is the CEO of the company, and one of Britain’s most successful new tech entrepreneurs.
Shu lives in the Fitzrovia area of London and mainly delivers in that neighbourhood and nearby Mayfair. He once took dinner to a hedge fund executive in Knightsbridge, whom he used to sit next to back in the day when he was an investment banker in Canary Wharf. Needless to say, the finance guy was dismayed to see his former colleague delivering pizza for a living.
“He’s like, is that you? Are you OK? I’m like, I’m fine!” Shu handed him the food and took the money, and the hedge funder said, “OK. Do you want to talk about anything?” To which Shu replied, “No, I gotta go do my next order!”
Shu pedalled off without explaining to the man that he was not merely a pizza delivery guy, because “it was funnier that way.”
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