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Instacart Startup Story - Delivering Groceries Instantly

Company Profile is an initiative by ListMyStartUp to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Instacart.

Instacart is a supermarket delivery and pick-up service based in the United States and Canada. A website and a smartphone app are used to provide services. Customers can order groceries from participating stores and have a personal shopper do the shopping for them according to their will. Founded by Apoorva Mehta, Max Mullen and Brandon Leonardo in 2012.

The CEO and Co-founder of Instacart, Apoorva Mehta founded 20 businesses in the early 2010s, including a social network for lawyers and an ad network for gaming firms, as part of a surge of entrepreneurial spirit. Mehta developed the method, which targeted his former employer, using his background as an Amazon supply chain engineer.

Know more about the Instacart Startup Story, its business model, revenue, competitors, funding, investors & more in the post ahead.

Instacart - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-Instacart
  • Owner-Maplebear Inc
  • Headquarters-San Francisco, California, US
  • Industry-Grocery Delivery, Retail
  • Founders-Apoorva Mehta, Max Mullen, Brandon Leonardo
  • Founded-2012
  • Current CEO-Apoorva Mehta
  • Revenue-$1.5 billion (2020)
  • Total Funding-$2.41 billion
  • Valuation-$39 billion (2021)
  • Website-instacart.com

Instacart - Recent News

March 2021 - Instacart, a US grocery delivery service, is considering going public through a direct listing, fearful of missing out on money through a typical initial public offering (IPO).

Instacart will become the latest company to forego an initial public offering (IPO), which has been the primary route to a stock market launch for decades, because it risks selling the offering too low in comparison to where its shares end up trading. A direct listing occurs when a company goes public without first raising funds via a stock sale.

About Instacart and How it Works?

Instacart Inc. is a corporation that provides same-day grocery delivery services. Customers can order groceries from a variety of retailers through an online application portal and have them delivered by personal shoppers. Customers in the United States can use Instacart.

Food and household essentials are sourced from a variety of local stores by the company. Customers can place orders from several stores at once and receive same-day delivery.

In terms of their own implementation, Instacart has a nice app that makes ordering and reordering favorite products easy. Customer service is excellent; they go out of their way to ensure that the customer is satisfied. Instacart has been been refining features/processes for dealing with product substitutions, shopper mistakes, and promoting tipping.

Instacart - Name, Logo and Tagline

Instacart is a same-day grocery delivery service that promises delivery in as little as one hour, or in other words, instantly. The business, which currently focuses on delivering groceries and household essentials, plans to expand into other verticals in the near future.

Instacart Success Story

Instacart's slogan, "groceries delivered in an hour," is all too common in today's world, which expects everything to be available with a tap on a smartphone.

Instacart - Founder and History

Instacart was founded in 2012 by Apoorva Mehta, a former Amazon.com employee and entrepreneur and his friends, Max Mullen and Brandon Leonardo.

Instacart' s Founders

Instacart Founders - Apoorva Mehta, Max Mullen, Brandon Leonardo.

Apoorva was born in India and immigrated to Canada with his family in the year 2000. He earned his bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2008. He was a part of the Summer 2012 batch of Y Combinator, which contributed to the launch of Instacart.

Instacart began operations in San Francisco. The company had around 200 employees by April 2015. It implemented a new policy in June that allowed certain shoppers to opt to work part-time, beginning with Chicago and Boston and then expanding to Atlanta, Miami, and Washington, D.C. the following month.

Instacart - Mission and Vision

"Our goal is to build a world where everyone has access to the food they love and more time to enjoy it together," says Instacart's mission statement. Instacart aims to be the service to 'deliver your groceries within an hour'.

Instacart - Partners

Albertsons, ALDI, Costco, CVS, Kroger, Loblaw, Publix, Sam's Club, Sprouts, and Wegmans are only a few of the national and regional stores that Instacart works with. Customers love the Instacart marketplace, which has over 300 stores and trusted local grocers.

Instacart - Business Model and Revenue Model

Instacart uses a shared economy-based business model to offer hyper-local on-demand grocery delivery by linking consumers with personal shoppers. Instacart does not own a grocery store; instead, it serves as a marketplace for grocery stores to sell their wares.

Customers can use the mobile app to choose their preferred grocery store, browse through grocery items, add quantity, and confirm their order. The shoppers are self-employed or part-time Instacart employees who obtain the order, shop for the products requested by the customer, and deliver them to their door. Customers pay using the app and receive their goods without having to leave the house.

Instacart makes money from the companies' distribution and placement fees.

Instacart - Revenue and Growth

Instacart reportedly generated $1.5 billion revenue in 2020, with $35 billion worth of sales

During the coronavirus pandemic, Instacart hit its first profitable month, netting $10 million

Instacart has an estimated 9.6 million active users and over 500,000 shoppers who pick up the items

In March 2021, Instacart was valued at $39 billion

Although Instacart does not release usage figures, in the first half of 2020, it added 300,000 more "shoppers," or riders who pick up and deliver groceries. It employed fewer than 100,000 people at the end of 2019. With $35 billion in grocery sales in 2020, it will employ 350,000 more people.

Instacart - Funding and Investors

Instacart has raised a total funding of approximately $2.41 Billion from investors like Tiger Global Management, DST Global, Sequoia Capital, Coatue among others.

As of March 2021, Instacart is considering going public through a direct listing, fearful of missing out on money through a typical initial public offering (IPO).

Instacart - Acquisitions

Instacart has acquired 3 companies to date which are - MightySignal, Unata and Wedding Party. The deal amount of the transactions were undisclosed.

Instacart's Acquisitions details are as follows-

MightySignal A mobile application index that enables businesses to make sense of data patterns generated by mobile app companies. Nov 5, 2018

Unata A platform that provides Omni-commerce for retailers, connecting digital touchpoints to personalize shoppers’ experiences. Jan 16, 2018

Wedding Party An app that collects wedding photos from guests and provides updates on the wedding details. Aug 4, 2015

Instacart - Competitors

Amazon Fresh (which uses the Webvan model), Google Shopping Express, and others are competitors (non-perishable items at the moment). Amazon and Google are also well-known brands with deep pockets. Uber Rush may be able to penetrate this market. Uber Eats, Munchery, Blue Apron, Plated, and Hello Fresh are all meal delivery services that compete with Instacart.

Instacart - Challenges Faced

  • Dependencies on grocery store participation
  • Fierce competitors
  • Process standardization

Instacart - Future Plans

Instacart is making several big improvements to its business model as part of its plan to help grocers own the digital food future. As part of its effort to boost grocery e-commerce for its retailer partners, the organization is investing its capital in a variety of new ways.

Investing in helping retailers achieve greater operational efficiencies through e-commerce, enhancing customer service, and further scaling its technological teams to better meet the increased customer demand for food delivery and pickup are just a few of them.

The business believes the industry should concentrate on delighting consumers, and that aim was a guiding principle when it increased its customer service team from 1,200 to 18,000 agents early in the pandemic. Late deliveries, missing products, incorrect item substitutions, and out-of-stocks are common complaints among grocery e-commerce customers which the company has taken care of.

Instacart - FAQs

What does Instacart do?

Instacart Inc. is a corporation that provides same-day grocery delivery services based in the United States.

Who founded Instacart?

Instacart was founded in 2012 by Apoorva Mehta, a former Amazon.com employee and entrepreneur.

What companies do Instacart compete with?

Amazon Fresh (which uses the Webvan model), Google Shopping Express, and others are competitors (non-perishable items at the moment). Amazon and Google are also well-known brands with deep pockets. Uber Rush may be able to penetrate this market.

How does Instacart make money?

Instacart uses a shared economy-based business model to offer hyper-local on-demand grocery delivery by linking consumers with personal shoppers. Instacart does not own a grocery store; instead, it serves as a marketplace for grocery stores to sell their wares.

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