This article originally appeared in the winter 2018 issue of Harker Magazine.
Words By Vikki Bowes-Mok
When you think about a stereotypical Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Andy Fang ’10 fits the profile – brilliant, hard-working and willing to take risks. Fang is certainly all that but also so much more. “One of my most cherished times in high school was being part of the school musical,” he remembered with a big smile. “It was something totally outside of my comfort zone – shout out to ‘Music Man’ and ‘Les Misérables’!”
While the school musical was a favorite memory, Fang also excelled in academics and student council, where he served as student body president.
One of his favorite classes was an advanced computer science course in neural networks, before it was a well-known concept, and one that he appreciates being exposed to a few years before it became mainstream.
“Andy was the kind of student that any teacher loves to have. I tended to push Andy to always give me his best efforts, even in the simplest of assignments,” remembered Eric Nelson, upper school computer science department chair, who had Fang three years in a row. “He was bright and applied himself, but still needed a mentor to help him reach his full potential.”
And reach that potential he has. Fang is a co-founder of the ever-popular company DoorDash, which he started with Stanford University classmates Evan Moore, Stanley Tang and Tony Xu. Fang and Tang were named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in the category Consumer Technology in 2016.
The four started the company as Palo Alto Delivery when they were still students at Stanford. After talking to local restaurant owners about their biggest challenges, they realized that delivery was an issue they could help solve. In the early days, the company delivered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Fang helped deliver the first couple of hundred orders on the platform.
Palo Alto Delivery became DoorDash and the startup was backed by Y Combinator, all before Fang graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 2014. Growing up, Fang actually didn’t want to attend Stanford, since it was so close to home, but his passion for computer science and understanding that Silicon Valley was the hub of innovation and entrepreneurship led him to become a Cardinal.
His decision was clearly the right one, since he studied hard, learned well and met his future business partners there. DoorDash has raised $971.8 million in funding, but that’s just the beginning.
“There’s still a lot for us to accomplish at DoorDash. Our vision from day one was always to build a last-mile logistics platform to service any local commerce use case,” said Fang from his San Francisco office. “We’ve primarily been doing that with restaurant food so far, but we’re expanding to other use cases such as grocery, with our recently announced Walmart partnership. I’m excited to see how we’ll continue to grow and mature our logistics network.”
As Fang looks toward a bright future, he remembers his days at Harker with a genuine fondness.
“And the funny thing is, Andy is still deeply involved in The Conservatory as his business has become an integral part of our community – tech week and auditions couldn’t happen without DoorDash!” laughed Laura Lang-Ree, director of K-12 performing arts. “I love to think he’s still a part of the family that way!”
Vikki Bowes-Mok is also the executive director of the community nonprofit Compass Collective.