secretleaders | Deliveroo: The Rise Of The Delivery Unicorn Company

Deliveroo: The Rise Of The Delivery Unicorn Company

We’ve all been there – back from a hard night’s boozing and hungry. Most of us would simply eat some toast and hit the hay, but then most of us aren’t Will Shu, founder and CEO of Deliveroo.

“I was like, wow, you know, you can’t get any decent food delivered here when you’ve been boozing. Then I was like, wait a minute, maybe I should start something that is a late night delivery service for food that you can get in like half an hour. You want it for McDonald’s or BK.”

And so from a late night boozy idea, everyone’s favourite takeaway service delivery unicorn company, Deliveroo, was born.

Today this incredible company that began life in a shared flat in 2013, with Will and four other riders delivering food, has seen off the competition in the form of Uber Eats and received significant investment in their latest funding round (to the tune of £450m) from Amazon, valuing Deliveroo at over $4 billion.

Widely regarded as one of the most dynamic and impressive founders in the European entrepreneurship scene, we couldn’t think of anyone better to see this series off in style than Will.

“I think for me, what I love more than anything is primary research. Talking to customers, talking to riders, talking to restaurants, and doing that in different markets. That really energises me and just understanding what are the problems they face and how can we solve them? Like that, to me is super motivating.”

We chat about:

  • How Just Eat influenced him, but not in the way you think
  • The genesis of Deliveroo
  • How Deliveroo was funded and its expansion internationally
  • The idea behind Additions and the challenges they’ve overcome with it
  • How Deliveroo has revolutionised the eating out economy
  • His thoughts on the gig economy
  • The challenge of being a CEO when he’s not a professional executive

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The Secret Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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