Many people find that, as they grow older, as the world around them changes, they want to own and run their own business. It’s a great idea, but it’s not something that everyone can do, and neither is it something that is easy – this is not an overnight success story that will change you from working in a boring day job to having millions of pounds and enjoying fabulous holidays three times a year.

There is a lot of hard work to be done.

But that should not put you off – if you want to start your own business, go for it. The world could do with more entrepreneurs. And there are plenty of people who took the ordinary and made it extraordinary who can inspire you. One of those people is Will Shu, co-owner and creator of Deliveroo.

Deliveroo is a clever concept. It is a takeaway service that, rather than working with already established takeaway restaurants with their own delivery services in place, works with high profile chains and independent restaurants that wouldn’t normally offer a delivery service. This way, customers can experience restaurant quality food in their own home, the restaurant get extra customers, and Deliveroo earn money from being the ‘middle man’.

Deliveroo only started in 2013, but it is already a £375 million company. That’s incredible growth, and it is the brainchild of former investment banker Will Shu, along with his ex-business partner software developer Greg Orlowski.

So how exactly was it done? Was it pure luck or was there more to this rapid growth?

It began when Will Shu realised how miserable he was at work. He was working 100 hour weeks as an investment banker, and the one high spot of his day was that the company he worked for gave him $25 each day for food. He and his fellow workers would get together to decide what they wanted, and Shu would often take charge of the ordering and the logistics behind getting their food – in this way he learned a lot about food delivery systems and ordering systems without even realising he had done so.

After a few years, Shu was transferred to Morgan Stanley’s London office. The choice of food that could be delivered to his office was suddenly drastically lessened, and he found that he was buying dinner at Tesco most nights. This became a big problem for Shu as he felt he was eating poorly. He began to feel unwell about it all. And then came a revolution in food ordering – online takeaway ordering took off. Websites such as Just Eat and Hungry House made his dinner a lot easier, but there was a problem; Shu didn’t recognise any of the names on the list of places that would deliver to him. That meant that he had no idea what the quality of the food would be like, and nothing to compare it against. Neither could he be sure of when the food would arrive.

This is when the idea of Deliveroo first began to grow. Shu wanted food from restaurants he knew and trusted, and he wanted it quickly. But those restaurants didn’t offer a delivery service – it’s just not the setup they had. Which meant that, to combat that problem, Shu would have to launch his own courier service dedicated to delivering food from restaurants to people’s homes or workplaces.

People were sceptical at the beginning. They just couldn’t see that it was a sustainable business. They couldn’t see that it was something that people would really want. There were just three restaurants signed up at the beginning. Just three. There are now hundreds. And because Shu wanted to prove to himself and others that this idea would work, for the first eight months he delivered all the food himself. It was hard work, long hours, and a lot of setbacks.

But it worked.

Word of mouth was the biggest help. Over the first two years, Deliveroo expanded across London, covering each borough as it went. When restaurant owners heard that people were using the system and that their friends and competitors were gaining sales from it, they wanted to sign up too. And so it went on. After London came Brighton, quickly followed by Manchester. After that it became more global with Paris, Berlin, and Dublin joining in.

Now, three – almost four – years later, Deliveroo is working in 35 UK cities and 40 other cities across the world.