DoorDash CEO Tony Xu’s Parents Moved To The US From China With Only $250, And Now He’s Worth $2.2 Billion

After DoorDash Inc.‘s (NASDAQ:DASH) initial public offering (IPO), founder and CEO Tony Xu is living the American dream and shedding light on the lucrative world of startups.

Born to Chinese immigrants who arrived in the United States with $250, Xu’s story begins in Illinois when he was 5 years old. His parents’ work ethic set the foundation for what has become an extraordinary life.

In a recent interview with Norges Bank Investment Management’s “In Good Company” podcast, Xu shared insights into his family’s early struggles and their ultimate success.

“We came to the U.S. with $250 in the bank, and my dad was a full-time waiter as he was getting his Ph.D. My mom was working three jobs a day for 12 years before she actually could save up enough money to practice what she always wanted to do, which was open up a medical clinic,” Xu said. “But it took a while for her family to kind of get our foundation and footing in the U.S. But, thanks to them, I got to, you know, really live off of the fruits of their labor and carve out my own path.”

Growing up, Xu often found himself alone because of his parents’ demanding work schedules. This taught him independence and resilience, essential traits that later fueled his entrepreneurial spirit.

Reflecting on his childhood, Xu said, “I think when you grow up in a situation where you don’t necessarily see a lot of outs or a lot of ways to progress your current situation, that can be somewhat demotivating. But at the same time, it also gives you a lot of independence.”

He named himself Tony after Tony Danza from the TV show “Who’s the Boss?” to help his classmates and teachers pronounce his name more easily.

Inspired by local businesses, Xu started DoorDash in 2013.

“In 2013, while delivery was not a new idea, no one in America outside of pizza places or certain cities like New York City offered delivery. And that was true in restaurants, and that was certainly true beyond restaurants,” Xu said.

DoorDash became America’s largest food delivery service and launched its IPO in 2020. Now, it’s worth $55.9 billion. Last year, the company had revenue of $2.3 billion, a 26.68% increase from the previous year.

Year to date, the stock price is up 43.46% to $138.38 as of April 2024.


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