Combining with competitors to become more profitable is “not that insightful of an observation,” Mr. Xu said, adding that he is focused on DoorDash’s growth strategy.
When the company reveals its financials, the potential for profit and growth will be clear, DoorDash investors said. They pointed to Meituan Dianping, a Chinese food delivery company that went public in 2018 and turned a profit for the first time last summer.
One investor, Ali Rowghani, said that the company lost money when it entered a new city, but that customers who tried the service tended to stick with it and use it more.
“As the market matures, they start making money,” he said.
Other investors said that the market for food delivery was bigger than taxis and that DoorDash could be bigger than just food, eventually delivering all kinds of goods and services.
For now, DoorDash is focused on making the food part work. The company is experimenting with autonomous vehicle deliveries, a partnership with Chase to offer free deliveries to credit card customers and a red-brick commissary in Redwood City, Calif., that houses kitchens for multiple restaurants, including Chick-fil-A. Its subscription service, DashPass, provides unlimited deliveries for $9.99 a month and has 1.5 million customers.
Even so, DoorDash is battling legal and regulatory issues — from a new California law that may force it to classify its drivers as employees to a class-action lawsuit over its tipping and another one over a data breach.
Ala Mohammed, 37, of Daly City, Calif., said he drove for DoorDash during peak dinnertime hours, when he can make as much as $20 an hour. Off hours, the pay is lower, so he also drives for Grubhub, Lyft, Caviar, Deliv and Instacart. Mr. Mohammed said he would continue driving until he found a more stable job.