- Instacart is one of the biggest grocery delivery and pickup service in America. Let’s look at the journey and story of Instacart as a startup.
Instacart is one of the biggest grocery delivery and pickup service in America. It was founded by Apoorva Mehta, Max Mullen, and Brandon Leonardo in the year 2012. Headquartered in San Francisco, it serves to approx. 5,500 cities in the U.S. and Canada in partnership with over 350 retailers that have more than 25,000 grocery stores.
Instacart connects its users with Shoppers in their area to shop and deliver items from their favorite stores in as fast as an hour. The Instacart marketplace offers more than 300 retailers and trusted local grocers that are widely accepted by the customers.
The story of Instacart starts from San Francisco where it was launched in the year 2016, it has expanded its coverage to areas in North Chicago, Illinois; Orange County, California, and Minneapolis. In 2017 it expanded to Canada and by the end of 2018, it was serving 16 Canadian markets and had services from Loblaw Companies, Real Canadian Superstore, and T&T Supermarket, Walmart Canada stores, Staples Canada, and M&M Food Market.
As on date, Instacart had also partnered with Rite Aid for delivery of prescription and medicine delivery.
Another interesting fact about Instacart is its funding and growth over the years. Over the years the company has raised six rounds of funding from notable investors. In May 2015 it was valued at $2-billion by its investors which rose to $7.87 billion by 2018. Recently in June 2020, Instacart raised $225 million in a financing round led by DST Global and General Catalyst with a $13.7 billion valuation.
Instacart has a wider acceptance from its users because of its quick delivery option. The customer can schedule delivery for as fast as an hour, or for later in the day or week to suit their schedule starting from as early as 9 in the morning to as late as midnight.
It also offers a membership option to its users as” Instacart Express” for a flat annual cost or a low monthly fee, where the user can enjoy unlimited free deliveries on all orders over $35. The other benefits include reduced service fees, no busy pricing fees during peak delivery hours, and the option to shop at a variety of stores with free delivery on the entire order.
Amazingly, Instacart has one of the world’s largest digital coupon platforms. It has always worked toward its user delight by offering its customers credits, referrals along with discount coupons and promotion coupons.
Instacart community has been very prompt in finding new ways to express appreciation for their shoppers. This ranges from a free snack to a heartfelt thank you note. (I know very delightful 🙂)
At the same time, Instacart has been in various controversies in the past few years, including the time during the COVID 19 pandemic. Most of the controversies revolve around missteps in managing its workforce and providing appropriate PPE and safety gear during the pandemic. In response to these allegations, Instacart was quick to change the way it pays its gig-economy workers.
During the pandemic, as a part of their social responsibility towards the community at large, Instacart has made donations amounting to $250k to institutions like Feeding America & Food Banks Canada. They have also taken steps to support communities of color that are disproportionately struggling with food insecurity by $250k to Equal Justice Initiative, an organization that challenges racial and economic injustice.
Further, they in action to launch a delivery partnership with Local Market in Chicago’s South Shore to help provide this community with easy access to fresh food and grocery items.
During the pandemic, Instacart has an order volume increase by 150%. To meet with the increased demand the company has announced that it would bring on 300,000 full-time contractors to deliver groceries as online ordering has exploded with shoppers staying home. Instacart’s plan will see it hire broadly in states like California and New York. In the former, for instance, it plans to bring on approximately 54,000 new full-time shoppers. In other states like Texas and Florida, it will hire thousands of new contractors as well, and provide them with paid sick leave if they’re diagnosed with COVID-19 or need to self-isolate.
The journey and story of Instacart are amazing and inspirational and we wish them best wishes for upcoming times.