DoorDash Closes $400 Million Funding Round

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“In the last month, a pair of food delivery startups were battling complaints about their tipping policies. Customers and workers chastised the companies for unfairly using tips to subsidize worker pay. As the furor grew, one of the companies, Instacart Inc., changed its compensation policies to match some of workers’ demands.

Meanwhile, the other company, DoorDash Inc., stood firm. It still uses tips from customers to offset some of the minimum payment that a worker gets for each delivery job, in which “Dashers” travel to restaurants or stores and bring food to customers. That decision apparently hasn’t harmed DoorDash’s reputation in the eyes of investors. The company said on Thursday that it received a new round of funding that values it at $7.1 billion.

In an interview Thursday to promote the investment, DoorDash Chief Executive Officer Tony Xu defended the tipping practice, which has been in use since 2017. Xu said internal data show that under the current pay model, Dashers stay on the platform longer, are more satisfied with their jobs and make deliveries in a more timely manner. He blamed recent backlash on Instacart’s implementation of its own policy.”

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Meatless Moo-vement; Impossible Foods Readies Burger Launch

Over the past four years, a small, well-funded startup has been developing a new burger just a few miles from Stanford University.  It’s not meat, and it’s not just a veggie burger.  What Impossible Foods is trying to do is create a meat replacement that looks, tastes, feels, and cooks like regular ground beef.

Like most other Silicon Valley startups, Impossible Foods is looking to disrupt an existing industry.  For the founder, Patrick Brown, that is the inefficient, international meat supply, which relies on a huge carbon footprint to maintain.  Industrial animal farming uses a third of the planet’s land, destroys millions of trees per year, and consumes a third of the global water supply.  “We’re getting into this very scarily unstable area where we’ve never gone before in terms of pushing the boundaries of a stable planetary system,” Brown says. “We’re driving toward the cliff with our foot on the accelerator—and nobody was working on this as a solvable problem.”

Brown is working on this problem by approaching the “veggie burger” from a different angle: less quinoa and beets and more “proteins, fats, amino acids and vitamins derived from wheat, the roots of soybean plants, coconuts, potatoes and other plant sources.”

And now the chefs are talking.  Tracy Des Jardin, chef-owner of Jarindiere in San Francisco, will be the first to put the product on her menu, and she’s excited.  “I equate this to when grass-fed beef first hit the market. Initially consumers were skeptical, but now some prefer it.”  Later this summer, select New York restaurants will launch the burger, as well.  We will keep you posted when it comes to town!

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