From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Instacart logo and wordmark.svg
Type of site
Founded2012; 8 years ago (2012)
HeadquartersSan Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served5,500 cities in the U.S. and Canada
OwnerMaplebear Inc.[1]
Founder(s)Apoorva Mehta
Max Mullen
Brandon Leonardo
Key peopleApoorva Mehta (CEO)
ServicesGrocery Delivery
Native client(s) oniOS, Android

Instacart is an American company that operates a grocery delivery and pick-up service in the United States and Canada with headquarters in San Francisco.[2] The company offers service via a website and mobile app in 5,500 cities in all 50 U.S. states and Canadian provinces in partnership with over 350 retailers that have more than 25,000 grocery stores including Albertsons, Aldi, Big Lots, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Costco, CVS Health, Eataly, Price Chopper, H-E-B, Kroger, Loblaw Companies, Petco, Publix, Safeway Inc., Sam's Club, Sprouts Farmers Market, Staples U.S., Target Corporation, Total Wine & More, and Wegmans.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Orders are fulfilled and delivered by an Instacart personal shopper, who picks, packs, and delivers the order within the customer's designated time frame—within one hour or up to five days in advance.[12][13] Customers pay with personal debit or credit cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay. For orders of up to $35, the delivery fee is $3.99, plus a 5% service fee. With an Instacart Express membership for $9.99/month or an annual fee of $99, customers get waived delivery fees on orders over $35, but still must pay the service fee. Customers are also requested to leave a gratuity.[14] Retailers set the price of individual items on the Instacart marketplace, which are mostly the same prices as in-store.[15] Instead of delivery, using the Instacart Pickup option, customers can pick up their packaged orders from the store.[16]

A 2019 study done by NERA Economic Consulting determined that Instacart was responsible for more than 23,000 jobs across the 4 states of California, Illinois, Washington, and New York. This increase was referred to as the "Instacart Effect".[17]

As of its most recent funding round, in June 2020, the company was valued at $13.7 billion.[18]


Instacart was founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Apoorva Mehta, a former employee.[19][20][21] Apoorva was born in India and moved with his family to Canada in 2000.[22] He studied engineering at the University of Waterloo and graduated in 2008.[23] He was a participant in Y Combinator's Summer 2012 batch, which eventually led to the creation of Instacart.[24] [25] Apoorva previously worked at BlackBerry, Qualcomm, and then Amazon as a supply chain engineer, where he developed fulfillment systems to move packages from Amazon's warehouses to customers’ homes.[26] Before founding Instacart, Apoorva started more than 20 companies. He tried building an ad network for social gaming companies, and developing a social network specifically for lawyers, among other start-ups.[27]

Instacart originally launched in San Francisco.[28][29][30][31]

In September 2016, the company announced an expansion to its zone in North Chicago, Illinois.[32]

In October 2016, it announced the expansion of coverage areas in Orange County, California[33] and Minneapolis.[34]

In November 2017, the company expanded to Canada by announcing a partnership with Loblaw Companies to begin delivery from select Loblaw Companies, Real Canadian Superstore, and T&T Supermarket locations in Toronto and Vancouver.[35][36] By the end of 2018, Instacart delivered from these stores in 16 Canadian markets.[37] In September 2018, Instacart added service from Walmart Canada stores, Staples Canada and M&M Food Market.[38]

In January 2018, the company acquired Toronto-based Unata, a white-label platform for grocers, for $65 million.[39][40][41]

In April 2018, Instacart instituted a 5% service fee on all orders.[42]

In 2018, Instacart announced national expansions with Kroger, Aldi, Sam's Club, Publix, Costco, Sprouts Farmers Market, Stater Bros., BJ's Wholesale Club, Walmart Canada, HyVee, The Fresh Market, Harps Food Stores, and Lunds & Byerlys.[43][44]

In November 2018, Instacart announced the national expansion of Instacart Pickup, a grocery click-and-collect service, whereby users pick up their pre-packaged orders at the grocery store.[45]

In March 2019, Instacart expanded its same-day alcohol delivery service in the U.S., making Instacart one of the largest online delivery and pickup marketplaces for alcohol in the U.S.[46]

On April 11, 2019, the company expanded its services to offering an on-demand option for its workers, in order to allow workers to work more flexible schedules.[47]

Effective May 2019, Whole Foods Market ended its partnership with Instacart.[48][49]

As of December 2019, Instacart's alcohol delivery service included over 30 new partners in more than 20 states and Washington, D.C. such as Aldi, Sam's Club, BJ's Wholesale Club, Sprouts Farmers Market, and The Fresh Market.[50]

From mid-March to mid-April 2020, Instacart hired an additional 300,000 workers to meet the surge in demand for grocery deliveries during the COVID-19 pandemic.[51][52] Data from Apptopia demonstrated a 218% increase in daily downloads as distancing measures increased.[53]. Instacart also introduced new services in response to the pandemic, including a contactless delivery option, safety kits and guidelines for shoppers, and new sick leave policies and pay for those affected by COVID-19.[54][55] As of April 18, 2020, Instacart reportedly had not provided the safety kits to a majority of its workers, who describe a complicated process to order them.[56]

In May 2020, Instacart began a partnership with Rite Aid, offering its service across 2,400 locations in 18 states.[57]


In March 2017, Instacart agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle a class action settlement stemming from the alleged misclassification of its personal shoppers as independent contractors. The suit alleged 18 violations, including improper tip pooling and failure to reimburse workers for business expenses.[58]

In November 2016, the company temporarily removed the option to leave a gratuity. Backlash against the policy forced the company to reinstate the option only weeks later.[59]

In November 2017, some Instacart workers participated in a strike action, alleging wages as low as $1 an hour. Instacart claimed that the strike had no impact on its operations.[60]

In February 2018, Instacart withheld tips given by customers to shoppers, blaming a software bug. In addition, customers were often charged for service fees that were supposed to be waived.[61]

In November and December 2018, Instacart changed its pay system for its shoppers; shoppers claimed this pay system resulted in substantially lower pay and boycotted. Instacart customers complained on social media that their orders were being delayed.[62][63][64]

In February 2019, after an online organizing campaign in which shoppers posted examples of payments as low as $0.80 per delivery attracted media and customer attention, the company announced that it would revise its pay system and give back pay to some workers.[65][66] Under the revised pay system, tips were no longer factored into the minimum base wages, which were newly set at $7–10 for a full-service shopping order (based on delivery market) and $5 for delivery only.[67][68]

In February 2020, Instacart employees in Skokie, Illinois voted to unionize. Instacart said it "will honor" the vote, pending certification of the results. In the lead-up to the election, high-level Instacart managers distributed anti-union literature at a Skokie grocery store where some of the unionizing workers pick up groceries for delivery.[69] About 12,000 of Instacart's 142,000 workers are employees with the option of unionizing.[70]

In March 2020, Instacart workers threatened to strike on March 27, 2020 related to lack of COVID-19 safety measures. A group called the Gig Workers Collective called for a nationwide walk-out to be held on Monday, March 30. They've been asking Instacart to provide workers with hazard pay and protective gear, among other demands.[71]


Instacart has raised six rounds of funding from notable investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Comcast Ventures, Thrive Capital, Coatue Management, D1 Capital Partners, Tiger Global and Valiant Capital.[72]

The company had a $2-billion valuation by investors as of May 2015.[5]

In March 2017, Instacart raised $400 million in funding at a valuation of $3.4 billion.[73][74]

In February 2018, the company raised $200 million in a funding round led by Coatue Management, as well as Glade Brook Capital Partners and existing investors.[75] In October 2018, Instacart raised $600 million in a funding round led by hedge fund D1 Capital Partners; the round valued the company at $7.6 billion.[76]

In November 2018, Instacart raised an additional $271 million from investors including Tiger Global Management, bringing its latest round of fund raising to $871 million and valuation to $7.87 billion.[72]

In June 2020, Instacart raised $225 million in a financing round led by DST Global and General Catalyst.[77]


  1. ^ "Terms of Service". Instacart.
  2. ^ Captain, Sean (April 11, 2019). "Instacart offers drivers more flexibility on when and what they deliver". Fast Company.
  3. ^ Haddon, Heather; Jargon, Julie (March 12, 2019). "As Food-Delivery Firms Court Smaller Markets, New Hurdles Emerge". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660.
  4. ^ Clark, Kate (October 16, 2018). "Instacart raises another $600M at a $7.6B valuation". TechCrunch.
  5. ^ a b Manjoo, Farhad (April 29, 2015). "Instacart's Bet on Online Grocery Shopping". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "Instacart Service Areas". Instacart.
  7. ^ Acosta, Gina (January 14, 2020). "Instacart Is Poised to Accelerate Even More Growth". Progressive Grocer.
  8. ^ Bosa, Deirdre; Zaveri, Paayal (May 15, 2019). "Instacart and Whole Foods officially part ways, and the CEO says he's ready". CNBC.
  9. ^ Crook, Jordan (March 12, 2019). "Instacart's alcohol delivery is now available in 14 states". TechCrunch.
  10. ^ "Who doesn't sell groceries but delivers via Instacart? Staples!". Chain Store Age. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  11. ^ "C&S Wholesale, Instacart team up to bring online grocery to 3,000 independents". Supermarket News. 2020-06-04. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  12. ^ Lori (January 8, 2019). "Instacart Launches Same-Day Grocery Delivery Service in Winchester". iHeartMedia.
  13. ^ "The Fresh Market Expands Instacart to All Stores". Progressive Grocer. May 16, 2019.
  14. ^ Cain, Brooke (April 7, 2020). "Never had your groceries delivered but ready to try? Here's what you can expect". The News & Observer.
  15. ^ Sofastaii, Mallory (April 2, 2019). "Grocery stores charging Instacart customers higher rates". WMAR-TV.
  16. ^ J, Soundarya (November 7, 2018). "Instacart launches pickup service across U.S". Reuters.
  17. ^ Acosta, Gina (February 12, 2020). "How Instacart Drives Grocery Growth". Progressive Grocer.
  18. ^ "Instacart Valuation Hits $13.7 Billion in Pandemic Investment". Bloomberg. 2020-06-11. Retrieved 2020-06-15.
  19. ^ Lien, Tracey (January 5, 2017). "Apoorva Mehta had 20 failed start-ups before Instacart". Los Angeles Times.
  20. ^ "Instacart Bags $2.3M to Become the Amazon of Groceries". The Wall Street Journal. October 25, 2012.
  21. ^ "First Republic: Apoorva Mehta". First Republic Bank.
  22. ^ "2 Indians in Forbes list of US' richest under-40 entrepreneurs". Business Line. Press Trust of India. December 13, 2016.
  23. ^ "Fireside Chat with Instacart Founder Apoorva Mehta". University of Waterloo. October 19, 2016.
  24. ^ "How Instacart Hacked YC". TechCrunch. August 18, 2012.
  25. ^ "Top Companies". Y Combinator.
  26. ^ Carson, Biz (November 8, 2017). "The Amazon-Whole Foods Deal Could Have Killed Instacart. Instead, The Startup Is Stronger Than Ever". Forbes.
  27. ^ Instacart: Apoorva Mehta. How I Built This. April 10, 2017 – via NPR.
  28. ^ Somerville, Heather (January 24, 2014). "Startup Instacart hopes to dominate grocery delivery". The Mercury News.
  29. ^ Zaleski, Olivia; Huet, Ellen (February 13, 2018). "With fresh funding, Apoorva Mehta is taking the grocery delivery fight to Amazon". The Economic Times. Bloomberg News.
  30. ^ Redman, Russell (September 25, 2018). "Instacart looks north of the border". Supermarket News.
  31. ^ Demicheva, Valerie (March 11, 2013). "Concierge grocery shopping". San Francisco Chronicle.
  32. ^ "North Chicago, there's more of us to love!". Instacart. September 27, 2016.
  33. ^ "We're Doubling Our Orange County Coverage!". Instacart. October 10, 2016.
  34. ^ "Minneapolis, We're Expanding!". Instacart. October 4, 2016.
  35. ^ George-Cosh, David; Bensinger, Greg (28 September 2017). "Instacart Is Expanding to Canada in Amazon Battle". The Wall Street Journal.
  36. ^ Kopun, Francine (15 November 2017). "Walmart, Loblaws face off over home delivery of groceries". Toronto Star.
  37. ^ "Loblaw expanding online grocery pick-up and delivery business across Canada". Global News. The Canadian Press. 2 May 2018.
  38. ^ "Walmart launches 1-hour grocery delivery in GTA with Instacart partnership". CTV News. The Canadian Press. September 13, 2018.
  39. ^ Crook, Jordan (January 16, 2018). "Instacart acquires Toronto-based Unata". TechCrunch.
  40. ^ Sawers, Paul (January 16, 2018). "Instacart acquires Canada-based grocery ecommerce platform Unata". VentureBeat.
  41. ^ "Instacart Acquires Unata" (Press release). PR Newswire. January 16, 2018.
  42. ^ Carson, Biz (April 24, 2018). "Instacart Is Fixing One Of The Most Controversial Parts Of Its Grocery Delivery Service". Forbes.
  43. ^ Redman, Russell (August 30, 2018). "Kroger plans major expansion with Instacart". Supermarket News.
  44. ^ Redman, Russell (September 13, 2018). "Walmart Canada teams up with Instacart". Supermarket News.
  45. ^ Redman, Russell (November 7, 2018). "Instacart Pickup set to go national". Supermarket News.
  46. ^ Redman, Russell (March 12, 2019). "Instacart ramps up alcohol delivery". Supermarket News.
  47. ^ Silman, Jon (April 12, 2019). "Instacart Loosens Availability Requirements For Shoppers With New On-Demand Option".
  48. ^ Boyle, Matthew (October 7, 2019). "No Whole Foods, No Problem: Instacart Shakes Off Loss of Grocer". Bloomberg News.
  49. ^ Hanbury, Mary (December 13, 2018). "Instacart's delivery partnership with Whole Foods is ending, killing hundreds of jobs". Business Insider.
  50. ^ Redman, Russell (December 17, 2019). "Costco, Instacart expand alcohol delivery to 200 club stores". Supermarket News.
  51. ^ O'Brien, Sara. "Instacart plans to hire 300,000 more workers as demand surges for grocery deliveries". CNN. Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  52. ^ Sonnemaker, Tyler (2020-05-08). "Instacart's army of shoppers has exploded from 180,000 to 500,000 since the start of the pandemic — and some workers say it's making the job more difficult for everyone". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  53. ^ Perez, Sarah (March 16, 2020). "Grocery delivery apps see record downloads amid coronavirus outbreak". Tech Crunch. Archived from the original on March 16, 2020. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  54. ^ "Instacart to distribute health and safety kits to its shopper community". Supermarket News. 2020-04-02. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  55. ^ "Shopping Services Are Household Heroes During Pandemic". LA Weekly. 2020-03-23. Retrieved 2020-04-15.
  56. ^ "Instacart Workers Are Still Waiting for Those Safety Supplies". Wired. 2020-04-18. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  57. ^ Moore, Cortney (2020-05-13). "Rite Aid, Instacart to make coronavirus deliveries after new partnership". Fox Business. Retrieved 2020-05-14.
  58. ^ Del Rey, Jason (March 23, 2017). "Instacart will pay $4.6 million to settle a class action lawsuit with its workers". Recode.
  59. ^ Del Rey, Jason (February 20, 2017). "Instacart is playing games with its workers' pay — and will eventually suffer for it". Recode.
  60. ^ "Instacart: Strike last week had no impact on operations". Food Dive.
  61. ^ Del Rey, Jason (23 February 2018). "Instacart says it mistakenly withheld tips from some of its workers". Recode.
  62. ^ Hanbury, Mary (December 4, 2018). "Instacart shoppers say that customers' orders are likely delayed because of frustration with the company's new payment system". Business Insider.
  63. ^ Hanbury, Mary (December 4, 2018). "Instacart workers are threatening to boycott the company over a payment policy change that they say has cut their wages". Business Insider.
  64. ^ Elejalde-Ruiz, Alexia (December 6, 2018). "'We're being mistreated': Instacart shoppers complain of pay cuts as company shifts to new model". Chicago Tribune.
  65. ^ Hawkins, Andrew J. (February 6, 2019). "Instacart revises controversial pay policy after accusations of tip stealing". The Verge .
  66. ^ Hanbury, Mary (February 6, 2019). "Instacart is reversing a controversial payment policy that workers say drastically cut their wages". Business Insider.
  67. ^ Captain, Sean (February 22, 2019). "Drive for Instacart and you could make $29.05 for an hour's work—or $2.74". Fast Company.
  68. ^ DiNatale, Sara (February 28, 2019). "Working for apps like Instacart is 'world of uncertainity [sic]' for its delivery drivers". Tampa Bay Times.
  69. ^ Gurley, Lauren Kaori (January 27, 2020). "Leaked Memos Show Instacart is Running a Union-Busting Campaign". Vice.
  70. ^ Gurley, Lauren Kaori (February 3, 2020). "Instacart Workers Win Historic Union Election". Vice.
  71. ^ OLSON, ALEXANDRA; ANDERSON, MAE (March 30, 2020). "Some Instacart, Amazon workers strike as jobs get riskier". ABC News. Associated Press.
  72. ^ a b Kumar, Uday Sampath (November 14, 2018). "Instacart wins $271 million in new funding in November: source". Reuters.
  73. ^ Primack, Dan (March 1, 2017). "Instacart is raising a new funding round". Axios.
  74. ^ Fickenscher, Lisa (March 9, 2017). "Instacart now valued at $3.4B after major investment". New York Post.
  75. ^ Lynley, Matthew (February 12, 2018). "Instacart has raised another $200M at a $4.2B valuation". TechCrunch.
  76. ^ "Instacart Announces $600 Million in New Funding Led by D1 Capital Partners" (Press release). PR Newswire. October 16, 2018.
  77. ^ Hall, Christine (2020-06-11). "Instacart Pushes Its Way To A $13.7B Valuation With New $225M Funding Round". Crunchbase News. Retrieved 2020-06-17.