How Instacart Competes Against Amazon Fresh and Walmart

May 04, 2017

Apoorva Mehta’s dream is to change the way Americans shop for groceries. His five-year-old online grocery shopping company, Instacart, might make that dream come true.

Mehta tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib when people think about grocery shopping these days, they picture “waiting in checkout lanes or circling around in parking lots. We want people to think about grocery shopping as a joyful activity.”

Instacart, based in San Francisco, is an online grocery delivery service that shops for fresh produce and other items at major stores like Whole Foods and Costco, as well as a customer’s neighborhood favorites. It promises to deliver everything to the customer’s door in one hour or less. Instant groceries with no hassles.

Mehta, 30, tells Fortune that he came up with the idea for Instacart when he was in his mid-20s living in San Francisco without a car. “I found grocery shopping to be such a pain,” he recalls. “I noticed that I would consistently come home to an empty fridge. I wanted to solve my own problem.”

He solved the problem by creating a lean business that has no warehouses, no delivery trucks, and no inventory. Instead, Instacart has more than 10,000 part-time shoppers delivering groceries in hundreds of cities in 41 markets across the country—from California to New York.

Apoorva recently raised $400 million—his biggest round of financing—lifting Instacart’s valuation to more than $3 billion. He says there are no plans for selling shares to the public. For now, his goal is to expand the business to 150 markets by the end of 2018 and to make Instacart “a household name.”

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