DoorDash launches accelerator program for early-stage startups and local entrepreneurs

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: DoorDash
Photo Credit: DoorDash

Related tags DoorDash startups Entrepreneurship

Third-party meal delivery service DoorDash is debuting its DoorDash Accelerator for Local Goods, a program designed to support local packaged food brands owned by women, BIPOC, immigrant, and transgender entrepreneurs.

While best known as a meal delivery app, DoorDash launched its online grocery and conveniences store marketplace called DashMart in 2020 to give users increased access to packaged snacks, beverages, pantry items, and other household essentials and provide local business with an additional channel in which to sell their products.

Describing the DashMart service, the company said, "On DashMart, you’ll find thousands of convenience, grocery, and restaurant items, from ice cream and chips, to cough medicine and dog food, to spice rubs and packaged desserts."

Speaking on the success and consumer uptake of DashMart during the company's Q4 2021 earnings call, DoorDash co-founder, chairman, and CEO & director Tony Xu said the company has experienced strong traction and reoccurring purchaser behavior.

"On DashMart, we really like what we see. With respect to merchants, this is a critical infrastructure for a lot of them either to expand into new geographies or to increase into different hours of operations. And so what we see is really DashMart's on a fairly long investment time horizon... What we're seeing is, quite a lot of demand for them," ​said Xu. 

DashMart currently supports more than 400 local and regional producers nationwide, according to the company. 

Ariel Barbouth, founder and CEO of empanada brand Nuchas, which has been selling its products through DashMart, said, "​[With DashMart] We're able to reach new customers and diversify our revenue streams in an effective way."

Program criteria

AS part of the accelerator program, DoorDash said it will select 50 local food business entrepreneurs from major markets including New York City, Chicago, and the greater Washington D.C. area. Selected applicants will then take part in a live, self-guided six-week course covering key business areas including supply chain management, wholesale vendor relationship management, managing cash flow, and business development.

Participants will also receive a $5,000 grant to support their business, be able to access marketing and sales support from DoorDash, and the guarantee to sell their products via DashMart.  

Eligible applicants for the program include businesses actively operating a local packaged food business for at least two years in either New York City, Chicago, or Washington D.C. with twenty or fewer employees, and currently less than $1m in revenue in fiscal year 2021.

"Local businesses generate a substantial amount of economic return for the communities they thrive within, while also creating notable job opportunities for residents. By developing the DoorDash Accelerator for Local Goods, we are equipping aspiring entrepreneurs with the educational and financial capital to become wholesale-ready and create an even stronger relationship between local businesses and consumers residing in the community," ​said Tasia Hawkins, social impact program lead at DoorDash.

At the end of the six-week program, DoorDash will commit to buying and selling products from participating entrepreneurs through at least one DashMart location.

DoorDash chief restaurant advisor chef Stephanie Izard, who helped developed the accelerator program and first launched her line of consumer packaged goods, This Little Goat, on DashMart, said: "This is a full circle moment where I was able to help shape the curriculum for this inaugural cohort, especially as I've experienced the challenges of launching a packaged product firsthand – including creating a distribution plan and coordinating with manufacturers​." 

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