Will Shu DeliverooDeliveroo CEO and cofounder Will Shu.Reuters

  • Food delivery startup Deliveroo is one of the UK’s hottest and most valuable startups, worth around $2 billion.
  • It was started by a former banking analyst who hated the lack of options when he had to eat at his desk.
  • Media reports suggest Uber is in early talks to buy Deliveroo.

On face value, anyone could have come up with the concept. An app which brings you food whenever and wherever you want it? It’s the kind of thing any irate worker eating a squashed sandwich at their desk could dream up.

Will Shu, the American cofounder and CEO of Deliveroo, knows this. He told the “i” newspaper in 2017 that the idea was “not complicated… anyone can have it.”

But it was Shu and his cofounder Greg Orlowski who turned the desk dream into a reality in 2013, thanks to a ruthless focus on making food delivery as seamless as possible.

The Deliveroo app offers takeaway food from thousands of restaurants, many of which never offered delivery services before the startup came along. The eventual goal isn’t just to make takeaway easier, but to kill off home cooking for most people altogether.

The startup has revolutionised food delivery, racked up a $2 billion valuation, and is now reportedly in talks to sell to Uber for billions of dollars.

The road hasn’t been easy, and Shu and co. have had to contend with thorny issues such as workers’ rights for the thousands of freelance drivers who deliver food and don’t have access to benefits.

As rumours of an exit swirl, be that an acquisition or IPO, we look back at Deliveroo’s story of success.