DoorDash reveals details of its new tipping model – gpgmail


DoorDash announced last month that it would be changing its controversial tipping model. Today it’s revealing the basics of how the new system will work.

Under the past model, Dashers (DoorDash drivers and other delivery people) were guaranteed a minimum payment per delivery, with DoorDash paying a $1 base, then providing an additional payment boost when a customer’s tip wasn’t enough to meet the minimum — a system that made it seem like tips were being used to subsidize DoorDash payments.

Under the new system, meanwhile, DoorDash will pay a base between $2 and $10 (the amount will depend on things like delivery distance and duration), with additional bonuses from DoorDash.

Most crucially, as CEO Tony Xu put it in a blog post, “Every dollar customers tip will be an extra dollar in their Dasher’s pocket.”

Now, you might think that’s how tips are always supposed to work, but Xu said the old system was developed “in direct response to feedback from Dashers,” while the new one will result in “greater variability in total earnings from order to order” (that variability several reasons why tipping is a flawed compensation model in general).

So why change?

“We thought we were doing the right thing for Dashers by making them whole if a customer left no tip, but the feedback we’ve received recently made clear that some of our customers who were leaving tips felt like their tips didn’t matter,” Xu said. “We realized that we couldn’t continue to do right by Dashers if some customers felt we weren’t also doing right by them. To ensure that all of our users have a great experience on DoorDash, we needed to strike a better balance.”

Plus, he said, “Dashers will [now] earn more money on average — both from DoorDash and overall.”

The company plans to roll out these changes to all Dashers next month.


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DoorDash acquires Scotty Labs – gpgmail


The Daily Crunch is gpgmail’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. DoorDash acquires autonomous driving startup Scotty Labs

DoorDash seems to be very interested in self-driving technology — not only did it acquire Scotty Labs (a startup enabling people to remotely control self-driving cars), it also brought on the two co-founders of Lvl5, which was creating high-resolution maps for autonomous driving.

“We’ll share more updates in the near future but for now, we’re really excited to be part of the amazing DoorDash family and looking forward to building something magical together,” Scotty Labs co-founder Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote on in a blog post.

2. Apple, Google and Mozilla block Kazakhstan’s browser spying tactics

Apple, Google and Mozilla have taken the rare step of blocking an untrusted certificate issued by the Kazakhstan government, which critics say it forced its citizens to install as part of an effort to monitor their internet traffic.

3. The 11 best startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 1

We already rounded up all the startups that presented at the accelerator’s Demo Day 1, but now the team has selected their favorites. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

4. MoviePass exposed thousands of unencrypted customer card numbers

An unprotected MoviePass database included both customer cards (those are the debit cards used to purchase movie tickets) and personal credit card numbers.

5. Waymo releases a self-driving open data set for free use by the research community

The data set isn’t for commercial use, but Waymo’s definition of “research” is fairly broad, and includes researchers at other companies as well as academics.

6. PayPal-backed money lender Tala raises $110M to enter India

Tala looks at behavioral data gathered through an Android app to build a customer’s credit profile. The new round values the company at $750 million.

7. Join The New Stack for Pancake & Podcast with Q&A at TC Sessions: Enterprise

Popular enterprise news and research site The New Stack is coming to gpgmail Sessions: Enterprise on September 5 for a special Pancake & Podcast session with live Q&A. (And we’re dead serious about the pancakes.)


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DoorDash acquires autonomous driving startup Scotty Labs – gpgmail


DoorDash has been on an acquisition tear of late, with Scotty Labs as its latest target. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but this comes after DoorDash acquired Caviar in a deal worth $410 million.

Scotty Labs, a tele-operations company that is working on technology to enable people to remotely control self-driving cars, raised a $6 million seed round from Gradient Ventures, with participation from Horizon Ventures and Hemi Ventures, last March. The startup had previously worked with Voyage for its self-driving cars in retirement communities.

“Our core belief at Scotty has always been that Autonomy + Remote Assistance is the future,” Scotty CEO Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote on Medium. “We have intentionally always considered ourselves to be the anti-hype company and focused intensely on developing core infrastructure and algorithms to ensure the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.”

Meanwhile, DoorDash quietly brought on the two co-founders from Lvl5, another company that had built tech to create high-resolution maps for autonomous driving using crowdsourced imagery and computer vision to merge and process the images. In April, Lvl5 announced it was shutting down after the acquisition.

Details of how Scotty Labs and Lvl5 will fit into DoorDash’s business are nonexistent, but you could imagine DoorDash using Scotty’s technologies to remotely control delivery robots or other types of autonomous vehicles.

“We’ll share more updates in the near future but for now, we’re really excited to be part of the amazing DoorDash family and looking forward to building something magical together,” Scotty Labs co-founder Tobenna Arodiogbu wrote on Medium.

From what we understand, the Lvl5 deal was more of an acqui-hire and did not include any of the maps that were built using the company’s technology. Instead, startup Mapillary obtained that trove of hundreds of millions of images.

DoorDash would not comment on what the new hires are working on, but through its robot pilots and partnership with GM, the startup has made no secret of its interest in exploring autonomous technology, specifically looking at how it can improve the cost and efficiency of deliveries, and it would make sense that it would also want to have in-house expertise to own and manage those projects.

DoorDash has experimented with delivery robots before. In 2017, DoorDash partnered with both Starship Technologies and Marble to test food delivery via robot. More recently, DoorDash announced a partnership with GM’s Cruise to test self-driving food delivery cars. DoorDash is also beefing up its in-house team of autonomous and navigation specialists.

This investment in autonomous tech through its acquisition of Scotty Labs and acqui-hire of the team from Lvl5 comes at a time when DoorDash says it is revamping its policies around driver wages.

The enthusiasm and potential of autonomous tech had led to startups creating literally dozens of interesting products that focus on different aspects of this field. But it will take a village to get this tech off the ground, which means that consolidation is inevitable.

DoorDash — operating on the principle of economies of scale — has been pretty aggressive in positioning itself as one of those consolidators. We have heard it tried to merge with Postmates. It bought Caviar this summer. And it has raised an absolute ton of money. In May, DoorDash raised a $400 million round, valuing it at $12.6 billion. Meanwhile, DoorDash’s main competitor, Postmates, is gearing up to go public this quarter. Just this month, the company received the first permit to deploy autonomous delivery bots in San Francisco.

As technology becomes a key way for the crowded arena of delivery startups to differentiate themselves, investing in its own autonomous tech R&D — by way of picking up some of these disparate startups that may have struggled to survive on their own — is one way for DoorDash to build out that tech cred.




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The 11 best startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 1 – gpgmail


Y Combinator, the genesis for many of the companies that have shaped Silicon Valley including Airbnb, PagerDuty and Stripe, has minted another 200 some graduates. Half of those companies made their pitch to investors today during Day 1 of Y Combinator’s Summer 2019 Demo Day event and we’re here to tell you which startups are on the fast-track to the unicorn club.

Eighty-four startups presented (read the full run-through of every company plus some early analysis here) and after chatting with investors, batch founders and of course, debating amongst ourselves, we’ve nailed down the 11 most promising startups to present during Day 1. We’ll be back Tuesday with our second round of top picks.



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Domino’s launches e-bike delivery to compete with UberEats, DoorDash – gpgmail


Domino’s will start using custom electric bikes for pizza delivery through a partnership with Rad Power Bikes, as it aims to become more competitive with on-demand apps like DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats.

Hundreds of e-bikes will be deployed across corporate-owned stores later this year in Baltimore, Houston, Miami and Salt Lake City, the company said Tuesday.

The e-bike announcement comes as Domino’s, which specializes in pizza, faces increasing competition from on-demand delivery apps like UberEats that offer customers far more choice. Domino’s could never offer enough menu options to compete with DoorDash or UberEats, but it can compete on service and delivery times.

The e-bikes are part of that plan. The company has also partnered with companies like Ford to test pizza delivery using autonomous vehicles. Earlier this summer, it launched a new pilot for self-driving pizza delivery in Houston in partnership with Nuro. Domino’s will use Nuro’s R2 vehicle, its second-generation autonomous electric test car, which will go into service later this year.

The e-bikes supplied by Rad Power Bikes are equipped with small integrated motors to assist with pedaling, and can run for 25 to 40 miles, depending on the user, before needing a recharge, according to the company. The bikes are equipped with lights in the front and back, reflective materials for driver safety and have a top assisted speed of 20 miles per hour.

Importantly, the e-bikes have been customized to hold pizza, drinks and sides. One e-bike can hold up to 12 large pizzas.

The company tested the e-bikes and discovered that service and delivery times improved, Tom Curtis, Domino’s executive vice president of corporate operations, said in the announcement. The e-bikes also opened up the labor pool for the company, allowing it to tap into candidates who might not have a car or driver’s license.

Some franchisee owners were already using e-bikes and found they are essential in hilly urban areas.

“While delivery on a traditional bike solved many of our traffic and parking issues, the hills in Seattle were tough on even our best cyclists,” Greg Keller, Seattle Domino’s franchisee said in a press release announcing the e-bike program. “E-bikes were a game-changer for us, and we’ve been delivering with them for three years now. We have been able to save money, provide better service, increase hiring and maintain a happy workforce.”


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Postmates to drop IPO filing next month – gpgmail


Postmates plans to make its IPO paperwork public in September, gpgmail has learned. Despite previous reports indicating the on-demand delivery company is seeking an M&A exit, sources close to the matter say Postmates is on track to go complete an initial public offering this year.

With the S-1 dropping in September, San Francisco-based Postmates is expected to debut on the stock exchange by the end of the third fiscal quarter of 2019. The company has tapped JP Morgan Chase and Bank of America Corp. as lead underwriters, Bloomberg previously reported, though other details of the float, including the size and price range of the proposed offering, have yet to be announced.

“We can’t comment on the IPO process and we don’t comment on rumor or speculation,” a Postmates spokesperson told gpgmail.

In February, Postmates confidentially filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO. Shortly after, Postmates held M&A talks with DoorDash, another food delivery unicorn, according to people familiar with the matter, but failed to come to mutually favorable terms. DoorDash declined to comment for this story.

Postmates has raised $681 million to date with its latest round coming in earlier this year at a $1.85 billion valuation. DoorDash, on the other hand, reached a $12.6 billion valuation in May with a $600 million Series G.

As Postmates gears up for its IPO, the food delivery business continues to consolidate. DoorDash last week purchased another food delivery service, Caviar, from Square in a deal worth $410 million. Uber is said to have considered buying Caviar, which had been looking for a buyer at least since 2016, according to Bloomberg.

DoorDash has been under heavy scrutiny as of late for the way it pays its drivers. Back in February, we reported how DoorDash offsets the amount it pays drivers with tips from customers. It wasn’t until after much backlash that DoorDash finally said it would change its policies. DoorDash has yet to implement the new policy.

How Postmates will fare on the public markets is up for debate. The billion-dollar company will go head-to-head with other public businesses in the space, including powerhouses Uber and Grubhub.

Uber last week shared disappointing second-quarter earnings. The company’s food delivery unit, UberEats, however, continues to grow at an impressive rate. UberEats did $3.39 billion in gross bookings last quarter with monthly active platform consumers (MAPCs) growing more than 140% year-over-year. Still, the unit is years away from profitability, Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC on Thursday.

Postmates’ updated IPO plans follow a report from Bloomberg that WeWork expects to make its IPO prospectus available in the next week. Eyes will be on both WeWork, which hopes to raise more than $3.5 billion, and Postmates, as the companies occupy two unproven categories.

Postmates follows Uber, Lyft, Pinterest and many others to the public markets in 2019, a year when many of Silicon Valley’s most notable unicorns finally decided to make the transition from private to public.

Postmates, founded in 2011 by Bastian Lehmann, is backed by Spark Capital, Founders Fund, Uncork Capital, Slow Ventures, Tiger Global, Blackrock and others.


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This startup is helping food app delivery workers start their own damn delivery companies – gpgmail


Following many months of pressure, DoorDash, one of the most frequently used food delivery apps in the U.S., said late last month that it was finally changing its tipping policy to pass along to workers 100% of tips, rather than employ some of that money toward defraying its own costs.

The move was a step in the right direction, but as a New York Times piece recently underscored, there are many remaining challenges for food delivery couriers, including not knowing where a delivery is going until a worker picks it up (Uber Eats), having just seconds to decide whether or not to accept an order (Postmates) and not being guaranteed a minimum wage (Deliveroo) — not to mention the threat of delivery robots taking their jobs.

It’s a big enough problem that a young, nine-person startup called Dumpling has decided to tackle it directly. Its big idea: turn today’s delivery workers into “solopreneurs” who build their own book of clients and keep much more of the money.

It newly has $3 million in backing from two venture firms that know the gig economy well, too: Floodgate, an early investor in Lyft (firm co-founder Ann Miura-Ko is on Lyft’s board), and Fuel Capital, where TaskRabbit founder Leah Busque is now a general partner.

We talked with Dumpling’s co-founders and co-CEOs earlier this week to learn more about the company and how viable it might be. Nate D’Anna spent eight years as a director of corporate development at Cisco; Joel Shapiro spent more than 13 years with National Instruments, where he held a variety of roles, including as a marketing director focused on emerging markets.

National Instruments, based in Austin, is also where Shapiro and D’Anna first met back in 2002. Our chat, edited lightly for length, follows:

TC: You started working together out of college. What prompted you to come together to start Dumpling?

JS: We’d stayed good friends as we’d done different things with our careers, but we were both seeing rising inequality happening at companies and within their workforces, and we were both interested in using our [respective] background and experiences to try and make a difference.

ND: When we were first started, Dumpling wasn’t a platform for people to start their own business. It was a place for people to voice opinions — kind of like a Glassdoor for workers with hourly jobs, including in retail. What jumped out at us was how many gig workers began using the platform to talk about the horrible ways they were being treated, not having a traditional boss and not being protected by traditional policies.

TC: At what point did you think you were onto a separate opportunity?

ND: We knew that a mission-driven company that’s trying to do good by people who’ve been exploited by Silicon Valley companies has to be profitable. I was an investor at Cisco, and I was very clear that the money side has to work. So we started talking with gig workers and we asked, ‘Why are you working for a terrible company where you’re getting injured, where you’re getting penalized for not taking the next job?’ And the response was ‘money.’ It was, ‘I need to be able to buy these groceries and I don’t want to put them on my own credit card.’ That was an epiphany for us. If the biggest pain point to running these businesses is working capital and we can solve that — if business owners will pay for access to capital and for tools that help them run their business — that clicked for us.

TC: A big part of your premise is that while gig economy companies have anonymized people as best they can, there’s a meaningful segment of services where a stranger or a robot isn’t going to work.

JS: Shoppers for gig companies often hear, ‘When you [specifically] come, it makes my day,’ so our philosophy was to build a platform that supports the person. When you run a business and build a clientele that you get to know, you’re incentivized for that [client] to have a good experience. So we wondered, how do we provide tools for someone who has done personal shopping and who not only needs funds to shop but also help with marketing and a website and training so they can promote their services?

ND: We also realized that to help business owners succeed that we needed to lower the transaction cost for them to find customers, so we created a marketplace where shoppers can look at reviews, understand different shoppers’ knowledge regarding when it comes to various specialties and stores, then help match them.

TC: How many shoppers are now running their own businesses on Dumpling and what do they get from you exactly?

JS: More than 500 across the country are operating in 37 states.  And we want to give them everything they need. A big part of that is capital, so we give [them] a credit card, then it’s effectively the operational support, including order management, customer relationship functionality, customer communication, a storefront, an app that they can use to run their business from their phone. . .

TC: What about insurance, tax help, that sort of stuff?

ND: A lot of VCs pushed us in that direction. The good news is a lot of companies are coming up to provide those ancillary services, and we’ll eventually partner with them if you want to export your data to Intuit or someone else. Right now, we’re really focused on [shoppers’] core business, helping then to operate it, to find customers, that’s our sweet spot for the immediate future.

TC: What are you charging? Who are you charging?

JS: A subscription model is an obvious way for us to go at some point, but right now, because we’re in the transaction flow, we’re taking a percentage of each transaction. The [solopreneuer] pays us $5 per transaction as a platform fee; the shopper pays us 5% atop the delivery fee set by the [person who is delivering their goods]. So if someone spends $100 on groceries, that customer pays us $5, and the shopper pays us $5 and the shopper gets that delivery fee, plus his or her tip.

The vast amount goes to the shopper, unlike with today’s model [wherein the vast majority goes to delivery companies]. Our average shopper is bringing home $32 in earnings per order, roughly three times as much as when they work for other grocery delivery apps. I think that’s partly because we communicate to [shoppers] that they are supporting local businesses and local entrepreneurs and they are receiving an average tip of 17% on their orders. But also, when you know your shopper and that person gets to know your preferences, you’re much more comfortable ordering non-perishables, like produce picked the way you like. That leads to huge order sizes, which is another reason that average earnings are higher.

TC: You’re fronting the cost for groceries. Is that money coming from your venture funding? Do you have a debt facility?

ND: We don’t. The money moves so fast. The shoppers are using the card to shop, then getting the money back again, so the cycle time is quick. It’s two days, not six months.

TC: How does this whole thing scale? Are you collecting data that you hope will inform future products?

ND: We definitely want to use tech to empower [shoppers] instead of control them. But [our CTO and third co-founder Tom Schoellhammer] came from Google doing search there, and eventually we [expect to] recommend similar stores, or [extend into] beauty or pet other local services. Grocery delivery is one obvious place where the market is broken, but where you want a trusted person involved, and you’re in the flow when people are looking for something [the opportunity opens up]. Shoppers’ knowledge of their local operation zone can be leveraged much more.


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DoorDash is buying Caviar from Square in a deal worth $410 million – gpgmail


DoorDash has reached an agreement with Square to purchase on-demand food delivery and catering business Caviar . DoorDash has agreed to pay Square $410 million in cash and preferred DoorDash stock.

Square bought Caviar about five years ago in a deal worth about $90 million. Now, Caviar has found a new home with DoorDash, the on-demand delivery startup that had been under fire for months regarding how it pays its delivery workers. DoorDash finally did right by its workers just last week.

“Today’s announcement is another important step forward on our mission to empower local economies,” DoorDash CEO Tony Xu (pictured above) said in a statement. “We have long-admired Caviar, which has a coveted brand, an exceptional portfolio of premium restaurants and leading technology. The acquisition further enhances the breadth of our merchant selection, enabling us to offer customers even more choice when they order through DoorDash. We look forward to welcoming the Caviar team to DoorDash and expanding our partnership with Square in the future.”

With Caviar joining DoorDash, Square’s Caviar lead, Gokul Rajaram, along with all the other Caviar employees will join DoorDash once the acquisition closes. The deal is expected to close sometime this year.

“Caviar has built a trusted brand with customers and many of the best restaurants,” Rajaram said in a statement. “DoorDash has national scale, complementary restaurant selection, a tremendous logistics platform, and a team that shares our passion and commitment to better serve restaurants, couriers, and customers. I’m incredibly excited to be joining, with the rest of the Caviar team, to help build the future of local commerce.”

For Square, this deal provides the company with an opportunity to focus more on its products for businesses and individuals, Square CEO Jack Dorsey said.

“We are increasing our focus on and investment in our two large, growing ecosystems — one for businesses and one for individuals,” Dorsey said. “This transaction furthers that effort, and we believe partnering with DoorDash provides valuable and strategic opportunities for Square.”

Meanwhile, Square just reported its Q2 2019 earnings with net revenues of $1.17 billion (44% y/o/y growth), adjusted revenues of $563 million (46% y/o/y growth) and a net loss of $7 million.

This story is developing…


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