Problems create opportunities for innovative solutions, even if the problem is as simple as not wanting to pay for a pizza delivery. Small problems though can even create major opportunities.
GrubHub founder Mike Evans discovered this through experience and is now sharing the long path to billion-dollar success that started with applying his college coding experience to his desire for cheap pizza.
In his new book Hangry: A Startup Journey, Evans reveals the story of how one night in college inspired him to quit school and begin a startup that would grow into one of the largest food delivery apps.
Backing up a Bit
“Hungry and tired one night, Mike wanted a pizza, but getting a pizza delivered was a pain in the neck. He didn’t want to call a million restaurants to see what was open. So, as an avid coder, he created GrubHub in his spare bedroom to figure out who delivered to his apartment,” says the publisher.
“Then, armed with a $140 check from his first customer and ignoring his crushing college debt, he quit his job. Over the next decade, Mike grew his little delivery guide into the world’s premier online ordering website.”
Evans saw an opportunity in that first sale and bet his limited savings on turning his solution into a business.
“I saw something in the world that was done poorly and thought it could be done better. The difference between a miserable, crank grump, and an entrepreneur? Both are unhappy—but the entrepreneur says they can make it better,” Evans told Thought Economics.
Evans left GrubHub in 2014 to seek new opportunities but his life of healthy living and subsequent startup ventures provides a powerful perspective on how to approach business and life in the modern gig economy that requires constant effort.
“I didn’t avoid burnout. I got burned out. For me, the finish line was the IPO, and then I took a ride into the distance. I literally rode my bicycle across the United States, and that was part of my getting back to some work-life balance. When you’re running a startup, you can’t maintain work-life balance, it’s very hard,” says Evans.
The book will be published on November 1 by Legacy Lit Books.