Background and Education
Apoorva Mehta was born 31 years ago in India .
His family relocated to Toronto , Canada while he was young.
He had his elementary school in Canada and proceeded to University of Waterloo where he major in Electrical Engineering and graduated in 2008.
Growing up in Canada, Mehtahad an avid curiosity in how technology worked. “Everything from atoms, all the way to what you see on a computer when you go to google.com,” Mehta said. “I wanted to learn everything in between.”
Mehta spent his post-college years working for technology as a Design Engineer in companies such as Qualcomm and BlackBerry, and even did a stint at a steel factory.
His only objective working for these companies was to harness knowledge and gather experience while he figure out what he really want to do for himself.
He eventually relocated again to United States in Seattle and joined Amazon as a supply chain engineer , where he developed fulfillment systems to get packages from Amazon’s warehouses to customers’ doors.
He left Amazon after spending only two years ,a role he felt he no longer feel challenged.
He spent the next two years working on his different ideas, putting his learnings into action.
Within two years after leaving Amazon . It was estimated that he started 20 companies. He tried building an ad network for social gaming companies.
He spent a whole year developing a social network specifically for lawyers.
“I knew nothing about these topics, but I liked putting myself in a position where I had to learn about an industry and try to solve problems they may or may not have had,” he said.
All his several attempts these companies failed to work out.
“After going through all these failures, releasing feature after feature, I realized it wasn’t that I couldn’t find a product that worked, I just didn’t care about the product,”
Mehta said of the social network for lawyers.
“When I went home, I wouldn’t think about it because I didn’t care about lawyers. I didn’t think of what lawyers did day to day.”
Which led him to lesson No. 3: solve a real problem you actually care about.
After trying his hands on about 20 failed start-up ideas , Mehta put some thought into the problems he experienced day to day.
He lived in San Francisco and loves cooking ,but he couldn’t get the groceries he wanted in his neighbourhood and He didn’t own a car at the time.
“It was 2012, people were ordering everything online, meeting people online, watching movies online, yet the one thing everyone has to do every single week — buying groceries — we still do in an archaic way,” he said.
Ever since he came up with the idea for an on-demand grocery delivery platform, he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Within a month, he’d coded himself a crude version of an app that could be used by people who needed groceries, and a version for those who were shopping in-store for customers.
On its first test-run, he ordered through the app, went to the store and delivered the groceries to himself because he had not hired any shopper yet.
Smartphones is popular among consumers everywhere , people were comfortable performing transactions over their phones, and the idea of using an app to hire someone to perform a task was fast becoming the norm. “As a result of smartphones, the equation had changed,” he said.
InstaCart Launch and Growth
Instacart was established in 2012 . 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.
Apoorva reached out and pitched to Y Combinator team , even though his entry was about 2 months late, he kept his hope alive.
He met two other tech buddies who later become cofounders – Max Mullen and Brandon Leonardo, at Y Combinator , and was also succeeded in raising $2.3 million in seed funding in October 2012 at Y Combinator.
As of January 2015, total funding raised from Investors amounted to the tune of about $275 million .
Early Investors include ,Khosla Ventures,Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator and Angel Investor Martin RomeroKleiner Perkins Caufield &Byers (KPCB),Comcast, Dragoneer Investment Group, Thrive Capital,Valiant Capital,Andreessen Horowitz.
In April 2015, the firm had covered about 15 cities in United States with about 200 employees.
Real shopping and delivery is done primarily by Independent Contractors ,though a new policy recently allowed Instacart shoppers to choose to be part-time employees.
In September 2016, the company announced an expansion to their North Chicago Zone and by October same year, they were covering Orange County and Minneapolis coverage areas.
As of March 2017, Instacart serviced 36 markets, composed of 1,200 cities in 25 states.
In March 2017, it was reported that Instacart raised $400 million in new venture capital which valued the grocery delivery service at approximately $3.4 billion.
In November 2017, Instacart announced a collaboration with Loblaw Companies to begin delivery from select Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore and T&T Supermarket locations in Toronto and Vancouver .
By the end of 2018, Instacart is expected to be covering all outlets in 16 Canadian markets.
They are also covering Walmart, Canada stores for delivery of products .
In January 2018, the company acquired Toronto-based Unata, a white-label platform for grocers to offer their own grocery delivery service.
Unata will continue to operate independently, as a subsidiary of Instacart.
The company also offers a service for personalized flyers and digital coupons to mid-sized grocers.
In February 2018, the company raised another $200 million in a funding round led by Coatue Management , as well as Glade Brook Capital Partners and other existing Investors.
The company was faced with a class-action lawsuit in 2015, alleging that the workers who shopped for and delivered groceries were misclassified as independent contractors.
Instacart eventually made its shoppers part-time employees, with some enjoying benefits such as health insurance.
By March 2017, the company agreed to pay a whooping sum of $4.6 million as a settlement from the misclassification of its shopper employees as Independent contractors.
The suit alleged 18 violations, including improper tip pooling and failure to pay staffs for business expenses.
“We went from having zero part-time employees to having people at thousands of individual store locations,” he said,
“We had to figure out scheduling and what kinds of training had to be provided. We needed to figure out a lot of things.” Mehta said in an Interview.
Instacart has also faced strong disapproval from its staff members and technology media for removing the option of its customers to tip their shopper in November 2016.
The company however restored the tipping option few weeks after the reaction .
In November 2017, a large number of Instacart workers participated in a strike against the company, alleging wages as low as $1 an hour.
Instacart claimed that the strike had no impact on its operations.
In February 2018, Instacart mistakenly withheld tips given by customers to shoppers, and cited a “bug” as the cause.
In April 2018, Instacart instituted a disputable non-waiveable 5% service fee on all orders.
Instacart is currently valued at a $ 4.2 billion by Investors as of February,2018 .
Mehta made Named as “the Most Promising Company in America” by Forbes magazine and Won the ‘Forbes 30 Under 30’ .
Mehta was asked how he has helped Instacart get to where it is today,
“Discipline. As the founder and CEO of a startup, I have to make hard decisions between battling priorities.
I have to say no to lots of seemingly good ideas so that we can focus on what is critical now.
The only way we are able to do this is by staying disciplined and consistently focusing on the long-term mission of the company.”
Instacart Objective of reaching four fifths of the nation’s households by the end of 2018, and if there is anything that can stop its rapid growth.
Apoorva story is about a person who believes in himself , dreams and is discipline enough to keep grinding even when face with roadblocks and countless failures along the path of success.
We hope you have enjoyed exploring Apoorva Mehta biography and his success story have inspired you to new discoveries.