A Deep Dive Into Instacart’s IPO


Instacart (NASDAQ:CART), operating under the official name Maplebear Inc., has been a topic of discussion in the IPO circles for a while.

Finally, the online grocery delivery service is slated to go public, hoping to secure $660 million with a valuation surpassing $9 billion. Trading is expected to commence Tuesday following the IPO on Monday.

Strategic Timing

The San Francisco-based Instacart is capitalizing on a favorable IPO climate. This move comes right after Arm Holdings Plc made headlines with a successful IPO, ending its debut week with a significant 25% increase. Although SoftBank Group Corp. retains a 90% stake in the chip designer company, its stocks witnessed a slight decline on Friday but remained about 20% above the introductory price.

Market Implications

Instacart’s performance could set the pace for upcoming listings. Klaviyo Inc., a Boston-origin marketing and automation firm, has amplified its listing target to $557 million, following Instacart’s lead. Moreover, Birkenstock Holding Ltd., a notable German footwear brand, is on the verge of going public.

Investment Strategy

Drawing from Arm’s strategy, Instacart is garnering support from significant investors for its listing. PepsiCo Inc., a key partner, is participating in the deal. The company has further secured the commitment of cornerstone investors like Norges Bank, TCV, Sequoia, D1 Capital Partners LP, and Valiant Capital Management. These investors could collectively own up to 60% of the shares, an uncommonly high percentage for IPOs. This strategic approach could create a heightened demand due to the limited available shares once trading commences.

Instacart’s Journey

Founded in 2012, Instacart gained prominence, especially during the pandemic, with a peak valuation of $39 billion. However, it faced challenges as the pandemic subsided, resulting in a thrice-revised internal valuation that plummeted to approximately $13 billion in October of the previous year. The recent per-share target for the IPO is set between $26 and $28, indicating a valuation ranging from $9.3 billion to $9.9 billion.

Simo’s Transformation

In 2021, CEO Fidji Simo, succeeding co-founder Apoorva Mehta, shifted the company’s focus from grocery delivery to advertising and tech. By capitalizing on the vast consumer data it gathers, Instacart aids grocery outlets in enhancing sales. This transformation resulted in the company’s profitability during the first half of the year, aligning with the investor preference towards profitable IPO candidates.


Instacart reported a net income of $242 million for the first half of the year, juxtaposed with a loss of $74 million during the same period in the previous year. Revenue surged by 31%, amounting to roughly $1.5 billion by June 30, significantly bolstered by the ad segment.

Sustainability Concerns

Despite the promising numbers, there are concerns regarding the continuity of this growth, especially with stagnated order numbers in the first half of the year. Instacart’s future depends on its capacity to establish itself as a key delivery channel while expanding its partnerships.

Competitive Landscape

Major grocery chains collaborating with Instacart have been developing their e-commerce platforms and delivery mechanisms. This development includes increased commissions for competing delivery platforms like Uber Technologies Inc. and DoorDash Inc. Instacart’s success hinges on its ability to retain users, grow orders, and understand shopping patterns for effective product placement.

Final Thoughts

The IPO is managed by major banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and others. Shares will be available under the ticker ‘CART’ on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. This listing is anticipated to provide an exit opportunity for current major investors, given the limited exit options recently available for late-stage startups.

Featured Image – iStock by JHVEPhoto

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