A Letter From Instacart Founder Apoorva Mehta
To The Instacart Community,
I want to share an important update. Later this month, I’ll be transitioning to become the Executive Chairman of the Instacart Board and Fidji Simo will be the new CEO. I want to tell you about how I came to this decision and why I believe Fidji is the right person to lead Instacart into its next chapter.
Building Instacart over the last 10 years has been the most challenging and fulfilling experience of my life. When we first started the company, most people didn’t think we would succeed. We were rejected by investors who told us that bringing the grocery industry online would prove to be impossible. Retailers were reluctant to work with us because they did not believe a technology startup out of San Francisco would understand the nuances of the grocery business or would want to help their companies thrive. And, we were constantly questioned about whether we could be profitable in such a thin margin industry.
It was thanks to our team’s resourcefulness, drive, and resilience that we were able to overcome the challenges along the way. Because no retailer would partner with us in the early days, our team bought one of every single item from grocery stores, took it to a studio, and photographed everything to build out our first catalog. To ensure our growth was sustainable, our teams forensically analyzed and improved every part of our unit economics making them a key strength of our business and a core part of our culture. And, when Amazon bought Whole Foods, people said it was the beginning of the end for us. Instead, our teams visited and signed every major retailer in North America, which dramatically accelerated our business.
What started as a simple idea when I had nothing to eat but Sriracha in my apartment has transformed the grocery industry. Today millions of households across North America depend on us for their weekly shopping. Tens of thousands of stores from local favorites like Bi-Rite in San Francisco all the way to national chains like Kroger rely on us to grow their businesses. More than half a million people have a flexible way to earn on our platform. Over the last 18 months as COVID spread through our communities, we also became an essential service for millions of households. It was the culmination of a decade of hard work, and I’ve never been prouder of how our teams rallied to be there for our communities during this difficult time. Instacart now facilitates tens of billions of dollars in sales for our retailers, and we couldn’t be better positioned for the future.
I’ve had the time of my life working alongside all of you over the last decade. And, while I had never previously contemplated the idea of someone else running the company, this changed when I met Fidji.
I knew Fidji by reputation before our paths ever crossed. Over the last decade at Facebook, she’s been a part of every big moment in the company’s history including helping the company grow from 1,000 to nearly 100,000 people and leading the world’s most popular app. Fidji was also at Facebook during its transition from a private company to the public market and understands what it takes to lead and scale a transformational company. In addition to her proven track record shaping products and the Facebook business, she is perhaps best known for the way she leads: extending deep trust to her teams, compassionately navigating challenging moments, and inspiring incredible loyalty. And, as the daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of fishermen, she grew up with an incredible work ethic and a deep appreciation for the power of food to bring people together.
That’s why, seven months ago, I invited Fidji to join Instacart’s Board. And since then, I’ve been blown away by her capabilities as a leader. We’ve spent hundreds of hours together, talking about everything from teams and products, to culture, strategy, and vision. It became clear that we both shared an ambitious vision for Instacart’s future. And, the more I reflected on this, the more excited I got about the prospect of bringing Fidji into the company.
Over the years, I’ve counseled a lot of leaders at Instacart to think about the big picture: to put the company before themselves, to take the long-term view, and to never be afraid of giving away their legos. I have found that this attitude creates a stronger, more resilient team and company. Instacart is incredibly fortunate to see this attitude embodied so deeply and pervasively throughout the organization.
As I thought about the ideal role for Fidji, I realized that this advice now applied to my own situation. Fidji will simply be a better CEO than me for Instacart’s coming years. I won’t pretend that it was an easy decision. Instacart has been my life’s work. However, once I came to the conclusion that it would make for a better long-term future for our business, I knew that bringing Fidji on as CEO was the right path forward for the company.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to share that Fidji has agreed to join us as CEO and will be joining us starting August 2nd.
So what’s an Executive Chairman? Well, I’m as new to it as any of you, and I’m sure that it’ll take me some time to find my feet. Most importantly, I’m not leaving. I plan to remain very engaged day-to-day and to partner with Fidji to shape our long-term vision and help make the key strategic moves that will determine the future of Instacart and the industry. I’ll be able to do so knowing that we have a leader in place who has the capability and experience to help make our vision a reality. I believe that with Fidji at the helm we’ll be in an even stronger position to realize our full potential and I look forward to working with her in our journey ahead.
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