Dashed Hits The Ground Running
Published: Thursday, October 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 17, 2013 13:10
“I started Dashed directly out of Boston College,” said Philip Dumontet, BC ’09 and CEO of Dashed Inc. “I went to the Target in Watertown and purchased a Rubbermaid container, strapped it on the back of my bike and started making deliveries from an Italian restaurant in the North End.”
Dumontet’s business started in 2009 with only himself, a bike, and one client, and it has since become the 119th fastest growing private company in the United States and the seventh fastest growing private company in Massachusetts, recognized by Inc. Magazine earlier this year. Relying on no venture capital funding, Dashed now operates in five different cities and employs nearly 100 people. Dumontet points to a key observation he made around the time he was graduating from BC that eventually led to his concept of Dashed.
“When I graduated, there was a large delivery service in Boston. It provided poor service, so I thought there was such an opportunity there to really take advantage of the gap in the market,” he said. “Looking at it, there were probably 50 or 60 drivers out of work, hundreds of restaurants looking for a delivery service, and thousands of consumers looking for faster delivery.”
Although many startups that exhibit rapid growth often transform or depart from their original business model, Dumontet is quick to insist that his company’s success is due in large part to its founding values. From its inception, Dashed has prided itself on the speed of its deliveries.
“What we’ve done to grow to that size and to continue to scale is to focus on speed,” he said. “That is what we do. The name of the company is Dashed for a reason. That’s where our competitors have failed in the past and where we still continue to innovate.” He went on to explain some critical differentiators that have helped Dashed strategically use the locations to which it has expanded.
“One of our core competencies is to stay true to the original concept of biking,” Dumontet said. “We invest more in bikes than anyone else in the industry, which is an advantage for places like Boston that have frequent sporting events such as Red Sox games that create congestion for vehicle deliveries.” Dumontet himself made many deliveries using a bike, even into the early growth stages of the company. He eventually stepped into a more operations-heavy dispatcher role, however, as the volume of orders, clients, and employees at Dashed grew.
Although Dashed still relies heavily on bikes and even scooters, it is in the midst of utilizing more vehicle-based delivery methods that prove more resistant to weather patterns and long-distance orders.
“One of our recent initiatives that’s been really exciting is that we’re rolling out a fleet of electric and eco-friendly smart cars,” Dumontet said. “That’s a nice improvement we’ve made. We’ll continue to have bikes and scooters, but the smart cars allow us to adapt to weather and make sure we’re getting orders out quickly.” While the vehicles are a relatively new development for Dashed, Dumontet indicated that his goal is to have 50 percent of the company’s deliveries done through the cars by the end of 2013.
While Dumontet’s journey with Dashed and the startup world might be described as atypical since he created the company by himself and never relied on venture capital, he ties aspects of his success to core lessons he learned while an undergraduate at BC.
“The beauty of the academic environment at BC is that you get such a well-rounded education and you can delve into many different areas. Once I realized what I liked, I was able to explore those areas further,” he said. “My number one advice would be to learn what you’re best at and follow that. Number two is to learn how to do one to two things exceptionally well.” Having been an orientation leader and a resident assistant, Dumontet also emphasized that students must take advantage of the opportunities available to engage their interests. Specifically, he pointed to his experience on TechTrek West as especially formative during his time at BC.
Having graduated from BC only four years ago, Dumontet has grown his company to a point where it is successfully competing to have its eco-friendly smart cars advertised in a Super Bowl commercial.
“We were invited to apply to the Intuit Small Business Big Game contest,” he said. “At this point the current round of voting is closed and we’ll find out if we make it to the next round where they narrow down to the top 20 in the country.”
While it remains to be seen whether Dashed will be publicized to the world during the Super Bowl, the sheer opportunity illustrates just how far Dumontet—once just a man delivering food on his bike—has come.