Technology

Five takeaways from Instacart’s S-1 filing


On-demand grocery delivery giant Instacart has finally dropped its much anticipated S-1. The company, actually named MapleBear, is one of the best-known unicorns on the IPO shortlist. Instacart’s public-offering filing has been long awaited due to not only its massive fundraising history, but also its sheer anticipated heft.

Instacart is, indeed, a very large private company, making its IPO filing and eventual debut a critical event for the back half of 2023. Since its 2012 inception, Instacart has raised $2.9 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase. In March 2021, the company secured a $265 million funding round from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, D1 Capital Partners and others, at a $39 billion valuation.

After so long an IPO drought, what does Instacart have in store for its existing investors and those perhaps looking to snap up some of its shares? Below we’ve compiled five initial takeaways from its SEC documents to help understand its growth, health and business.

We’ll dig more deeply into the mechanics of its grocery delivery business and the profitability of the model. Today we’re focused on the big numbers and the big trends.

The orders keep coming

While Instacart certainly experienced a pandemic-fueled boom in business, it has managed to maintain that momentum even as pandemic restrictions have eased. More people could go back to the grocery store for shopping, but many got used to the convenience of having their grocery items delivered to them. Orders climbed by 18% in 2022 to 262.6 million compared to 223.4 million in 2021. Those numbers have remained more consistent in 2023 thus far, with orders totaling 132.9 million for the six months ended June 30 compared to 132.3 million the first six months of 2022.

Meanwhile, gross transaction volume increased by 16% to $28.8 billion in 2022 compared to $24.9 billion in 2021. Transaction revenue surged by 44% in 2022 to $1.8 billion compared to $1.23 billion in 2021. For the first six months of 2023, transaction revenue was up 34% to $1.07 billion compared with $799 million in the first six months of 2022. That’s a lot of delivered foodstuffs.

Instacart has reached rare scale as a private company

Instacart’s revenue last year came to $2.55 billion, up 39% from its 2021 result of $1.83 billion. Over the same time horizon, Instacart flipped from operating losses to operating profits, improving from -$72 million in 2021 operating income to +$71 million last year.