Careers at Instacart

Mission

Instacart is an on-demand grocery delivery platform that facilitates same-day shopping deliveries for its users under a sharing economy model, with deliveries completed by personal shoppers working in their area. The service is available across certain parts of the US.

History

Instacart was co-founded in 2012 by Apoorva Mehta (“Mehta”), Max Mullen (“Mullen”) and Brandon Leonardo (“Leonardo”). The concept was developed primarily by Mehta, who had learned the importance of a prompt delivery service during his time as an Amazon employee. He began creating the Instacart platform as a remedy to a personal aversion to grocery shopping, reportedly promising not to buy groceries until he could place an order from his own app. In 2012 Mehta reportedly placed an order on an early version of the Instacart app, walked to the grocery store and delivered the order himself.

Users of the service grew initially by word of mouth, with the number of orders forcing Mehta to train and employ a team of personal shoppers to fulfil demand. The Instacart platform was developed further at the Y Combinator incubator in the summer of 2012, where Mehta met his co-founding partners Mullen and Leonardo. The Company began receiving funding later that year, with seed capital provided by Y Combinator, Canaan Partners, Semil Shah, Khosla Ventures and Funders Club. To date Instacart has completed six rounds of investor funding, raising a total of just under $275 million from19 investors. The Company’s 2015 Series C round of funding – in which high-profile investors Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital were brought on board – raised $220 million and saw Instacart valued at $2 billion.

Benefits at Instacart

Business model of Instacart

Customer Segments

Instacart primarily serves consumers who do not have the time or mobility to do their own grocery shopping – including busy professionals, the elderly, the disabled and people without transportation – and customers that require delivery of groceries from several stores at short notice.

The service is only available in the US, across cities in 19 of the country’s 52 states. Instacart can also include its personal shoppers as customers, who receive commissions for orders they deliver as part of the sharing economy-based platform. Personal shoppers require only a smartphone and means of delivery in order to complete orders.

The Company’s third customer segment comprises local stores that can use the Instacart platform to extend their reach within the local community.

Value Propositions

Instacart’s greatest value to consumers is the ease with which its platform can be used, the efficiency of its delivery service and its flexibility. The Company’s platform can be accessed on any device and at any time, allowing consumers to place grocery orders on the go.

Deliveries are made quickly when necessary or can be scheduled to arrive at a convenient time, removing the stress and time associated with traditional grocery shopping. The platform also enables consumers to buy products from several different retailers in a single order, streamlining the shopping process considerably.

For its team of personal shoppers it allows a flexible working schedule and the opportunity to receive tips.

The Company also expands the reach of local stores, increasing its audience and ultimately its sales revenue.

Channels

Instacart’s grocery delivery platform can be accessed via the Company’s mobile and desktop websites at www.instacart.com or through its mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Customer Relationships

The Instacart platform is a self-service offering that relies on the sharing economy system. Registration can be completed via the Company’s website or through its iOS and Android apps. Once registered, users are free to browse products from retailers in their area, place orders and schedule deliveries without the need to interact with members of the Instacart team.

Instacart does, however, provide its customers with support, providing guides and FAQs on its website. Customers are also able to contact sales and support representatives directly via email, phone and online contact forms.

In addition, the Company keeps its customers updated with developments through its blog and its Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram accounts.

Key Activities

Instacart develops, manages and maintains an online grocery delivery platform which operates on a sharing-economy basis.

The Company’s platform enables users to place orders from one or several local stores and receive delivery within one or two hours or at scheduled time, with deliveries completed by a team of personal shoppers.

In order to complete this service Instacart manages a network of retail partners, comprising large chains and independent stores, ensuring a varied inventory of groceries and other products, and manages its local teams of personal shoppers.

Key Partners

Instacart’s key partners are its network of retailers, comprising large retail chains and independent stores. The Company has agreed a number of tie-ups with US stores, enabling them to place orders and arrange pick-ups from a number of outlets.

In return for providing Instacart with access to their product inventory, partners have reportedly recorded increased online sales and greater reach within their target markets.

Instacart includes US grocery chains Whole Foods, Fairway Market, H Mart and Costco among its retail partners, as well as retailers that provide other specialist products such as wine merchant Total Wine, beverage retailer Binny’s and pet shop Petco. Instacart has also partnered with recipe platform Yummly to provide delivery of recipe ingredients.

Key Resources

Instacart’s key resources are its software platform, its IT infrastructure, its team of personal shoppers and its retail partners.

There are no patent applications filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in the names of Instacart or Maplebear.

Cost Structure

Instacart’s principal costs relate to the development and maintenance of its grocery delivery platforms, its retention of full-time sales, support and development personnel, operation of its IT infrastructure and data network, and payment of commissions to personal shoppers.

Instacart also incurs costs related to its rental of office space and utilities.

Revenue Streams

Instacart generates revenue through various fees levied on its customers. This primarily includes a surcharge placed on some items available through the Company’s network of retail partners and delivery charges. Delivery charges are around $5.99 for two hour or scheduled delivery or more for one hour delivery, limited to orders over $35. Customers are charged higher delivery fees during busy periods and higher fees for orders under $35. Instacart customers may also pay $149 for an annual subscription to the Instacart service, receiving free two hour deliveries on all orders over $35.

Recent reports suggest that Instacart generates around $6.96 per order in Atlanta and $4.29 per order in Chicago, its largest urban market, while it loses money on orders in New York City and San Francisco’c Bay Area.

The Company, however, is reported to be profitable. In addition to these methods, Instacart also generates a small amount of revenue through the charging of credit card transaction fees.

Our team

Apoorva Mehta,
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

info: Apoorva has served as Instacart’s Chief Executive Officer since co-founding the Company in 2012. After graduating from the University of Waterloo with a BSc in Electrical Engineering, he joined online retail giant Amazon in 2010 as a member of its Fulfilment Optimisation Division. He left the company to co-found Instacart. Mehta has not held any other significant corporate roles outside of Amazon and Instacart.

Max Mullen,
Co-Founder

info: Mullen has been a member of Instacart’s leadership team since 2012. His role is not specified on the Company’s website or on his own corporate networking profile. Mullen began his career in 2004, following his graduation from the University of Southern California, as a systems engineer at interactive agency Schematic. He was promoted in 2006 to the position of Director of Client Services, but ultimately left the company in 2010 when he was appointed Senior Director of Client Services at marketing and advertising company Sprout. He held this role for just a year before leaving to found Volly, a website that allows users to collaborate with friends to make group decisions. Mullen served as Chief Executive Officer of Volly from 2010 to 2011. His last position before co-founding Instacart was as a product manager at mobile security company Location Labs.

Brandon Leonardo,
Co-Founder)

info: Leonardo’s role at Instacart is not specified on the Company’s website or on his corporate networking profile. Leonardo has been active within the Silicon Valley tech community for a number of years, holding a varied range of roles. From 2003 to 2005 he was a programmer at software company Teknowledge, going on to continue his programming career at Frontend Consulting for a brief spell in 2005. He interned at Cisco for nine months between 2005 and 2006 before working as a web application developer at Work Metro from 2006 to 2007. Leonardo went on to embark on several business projects, serving as owner of Rush Systems and co-founder of Joi Company, before serving for just under two years as the Chief Technology Officer of startup incubator StartupBus before joining the Instacart team.

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