Instacart is an Internet-based grocery delivery service.
Instacart's service is mainly provided through a smartphone app, available on iOS and Android platforms, apart from its website. Customers can pay with Android Pay and Apple Pay on their respective platforms. Initially Instacart shoppers simply went to a store and purchased the ordered items at retail and, in addition to the delivery charge, added a markup of 10 to 20 percent. As the business has developed, the firm has established relationships with grocery firms which share their (store) existing markup, allowing Instacart users to shop at in-store prices.
Instacart was started by Apoorva Mehta, a former Amazon employee. The company launched its service in San Francisco, Mountain View and Palo Alto. The startup company has a $2 billion valuation by investors as of May 2015. Investors include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Comcast Ventures, Dragoneer Investment Group, Thrive Capital, Valiant Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator and Angel Investor Martin Romero. As of January 2015 total funding was about $275M. At that time, Forbes magazine named Instacart "the Most Promising Company in America". In 2016, Whole Foods Market Inc. invested in Instacart in conjuction with its partnership.
As of April 2015, the firm had about 200 employees. Actual shopping and delivery is done primarily by independent contractors, though a new policy will allow a few Instacart shoppers to choose to be part-time employees. During 2014, Instacart expanded to 15 cities: Atlanta; Austin; Boston; Boulder; Chicago; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; New York City; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco; San Jose; Seattle and Washington, DC, with plans to expand further in 2015. In September 2015, the company hired Ravi Gupta as its first CFO. Instacart raised its customer prices by fifty percent in December 2015, then a few months later the company cut by fifty percent its payments to couriers.