Now valued at over $2B, grocery delivery startup Instacart eyes nationwide expansion

instacart 2 billion valuation screen shot 2014 12 30 at 11 20 53 am
2014 was a monumental year for Instacart. At the onset of the year, the on-demand grocery delivery service was only up and running in a handful of U.S. cities. By midyear, it was on the ground in more than a dozen and was valued at $400 million. Now, with 2015 just around the corner, the company has just announced a monstrous $220 million funding round at a valuation of about $2 billion.

This new infusion of cash should help Instacart continue the pace and expand its grocery delivery business to even more cities across the U.S. The startup currently delivers to Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington D.C. — and it expects to be nationwide by the end of 2015

If you’re unfamiliar, Instacart works pretty much exactly how you’d expect a card-carrying grocery delivery startup to work. You start by simply visiting the Instacart site from a computer or mobile device and then add items to your cart just like you would on any other ecommerce site. After you’ve selected all the stuff you want, you then choose a delivery time, specify the location at which the groceries should be delivered, and check out with a credit card. After you’ve placed an order, Instacart instantly beams that information to the smartphone of one of its personal shoppers, who then goes to a local store, buys the groceries, and delivers the order at the arranged time.

Services like this definitely aren’t new, but with this recent $2B valuation, it’s obvious that Instacart is growing much faster than its competitors. Over the past year, the company’s revenue has grown more than 10 times over. Much of that growth comes as a direct result of the company’s agile, crowdsourced marketplace model, which has ultimately allowed it to expand operations quickly and cheaply — unlike other companies that have to set up distribution centers in every new location.

But other grocery delivery startups aren’t Instacart’s only competition. Recipe kit delivery services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh have also experienced massive growth in 2014 and offer a completely different, much more laid-back solution to the same problem. It’s hard to say which model will prevail in 2015, but regardless of wether there’s a clear-cut winner or loser, this mounting grocery delivery arms race is definitely a win for consumers.


Has Columbus, Ohio raised its IQ yet? A progress report from the mayor

Two years ago, the city of Columbus in Ohio received $40 million to pursue smart city initiatives. So, what’s happened since then? We spoke with its mayor, Andrew Ginther, to discuss progress and what’s ahead.
Smart Home

Amazon shows off compact cashier-free store that could show up at airports

Amazon is testing its smallest Amazon Go store to date as it considers taking the grab-and-go technology to new venues such as airports and train stations. The compact store is a quarter the size of its current locations.
Smart Home

Uber Eats is testing a system for cheaper meal delivery

You know how Uber Pool offers cheaper trips if riders share a car? Well, Uber Eats is currently testing the same idea for meal delivery, and it could mean cheaper orders for customers.

Lime’s dockless electric bikes land in London, but its scooters aren’t allowed

Lime has landed in London with its dockless bikesharing service. The pedal-assisted electric bikes are unlocked via Lime's app and can reach speeds of 15 mph. It plans to have 1,000 bikes on the streets before the end of the year.

The best air fryer deals you can still snag before Christmas

Christmas is closing in on us fast, but you still have a little bit of time left for last-minute kitchen gifts. We've searched the depths of Amazon and Walmart to bring you the best air fryer deals going on right now.

Best deals on smart locks so you’ll never have to worry about unlocked doors

Is your front door locked? We found the best deals on smart home door locks that take the worry out of wondering if your home is secure. You can lock or unlock your doors remotely and some models let you control locks with voice commands.
Product Review

The Brava Oven takes all the thinking out of cooking

Using bulbs to cook food at different light frequencies, the Brava Oven lets even the clueless cook a tasty meal. But your own smart chef doesn’t come cheap.

These Amazon kitchen deals are perfect for Christmas gifts and healthy eating

Today is day 10 of Amazon’s “12 Days of Deals,” and it’s all about kitchen. From blenders to Instant Pots to KitchenAid mixers and more, practical yet highly coveted small appliances are available for up to 50 percent off.
Smart Home

Ring Alarm vs. Nest Secure: Which one is right for you?

Thanks to the advance of technology, it's become really easy nowadays to secure your home and protect it from thieves, intruders, and unwanted guests. Which one of these two top contenders is right for you?
Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Smart Home

Dear Instant Pot Smart: I love you. Thank you for changing my life

After taking the Instant Pot Smart WiFi Programmable Pressure Cooker for a spin, one long-time product reviewer finds much to love about the device she long coveted, despite that it’s not really that smart.

Brew, drip, or press a fresh cup of joe with today’s best deals on coffee makers

To kick off the day with a fresh cup or upgrade your home coffee machine to accommodate the preferences of dinner guests, check these hot deals for drip coffee makers, espresso machines, and single-serving devices on Walmart and Amazon.
Smart Home

People are stealing Ring doorbells (and it’s no knock-knock joke)

Ring Video Doorbell thefts in a Denver neighborhood raise questions about how much security the smart home devices actually provide. One homeowner and the police have a video of the theft. Here's what to do if your Ring device is stolen.