Executive Briefing

What will Instacart become?

The online grocery service has a new CEO, with a massive opportunity — and big questions — ahead.

Instacart’s incoming CEO Fidji Simo and founder Apoorva Mehta / Photo via Instacart

Instacart, the online grocery service, named a new CEO this week: Longtime Facebook executive Fidji Simo, who had joined Instacart’s board in January.

Instacart has been preparing for an IPO for a while, and installing a new CEO this close to a listing is unusual. But because co-founder Apoorva Mehta is sticking around as executive chairman, this strikes me less as a sign of imminent disaster and more as an opportunity to bet on a new leader — perhaps one that’s more exciting for public market investors — for the next decade.

What does Instacart’s next decade look like? If it can execute on its potential, it will look much different than the last.

  • Instacart has the opportunity to become the primary interface that people use to buy groceries — a trillion-dollar industry in the US alone — and anything else it can credibly add to its marketplace.
  • It has the potential to use technology and design to build the first truly personalized grocery store, even — if it wants — down to personal nutrition needs.
  • It also has the opportunity to restructure many of the outdated power dynamics between brands and merchants, to its own advantage (and hopefully the consumer’s).

There will be tension along the way. Amazon is chasing the same set of opportunities. And with this much power, Instacart should be closely scrutinized. But the potential is real.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported entirely by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my twice-weekly, member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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