Earlier this year, Instacart raised $US44 million at a $US400 million valuation from top Silicon Valley investors including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz. The company says it will generate about $US100 million this year, a 10X increase from 2013.
Instacart competes with Fresh Direct, but while Fresh Direct is its own store that holds inventory, Instacart relies on local grocers to fulfil orders. It has pre-arranged deals with major grocery chains like A&P and Costco, and Instacart’s shoppers go to your local store for you. But that means they don’t know what’s in stock. A common complaint is that Instacart users spend too much time on the phone with Instacart shoppers discussing replacements for out of stock items, and it’d sometimes be less of a headache to go to the store themselves.
On-demand grocery shopping is just one of the major deliver-it-now services that has exploded this year. Uber led the on-demand charge with a $US40 billion valuation this year. Postmates is a similar service for delivering packages.