Can you build a billion-dollar business on the backs of cyclists weaving through traffic with tacos in tow? According to Silicon Valley, absolutely. The rise of a new breed of delivery company, fueled by algorithms and venture capital, is making it easier than ever to get a hot meal (or anything else) brought to your door.
Direct delivery of food could devour 40% of total restaurant sales, or $220 billion, by 2020, according to a 2017 Morgan Stanley estimate. And it’s still early days as far as technology and logistical efficiency are concerned. “There may be room for more innovation than appears at first blush,” says Cowen & Co. analyst Thomas Champion.
The list of delivery contenders is long, and several—like Amazon, GrubHub, and IPO-bound Uber—are large, as measured by both revenue and market share. But two private companies in San Francisco, DoorDash and Postmates, have established a rivalry so intense that it sometimes seems they’re ignoring the rest of the field as they exchange blows.