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Instacart got huge. It’s going public. Now how will it grow?

Analyzing the online grocery service’s S-1 filing.

Instacart CEO Fidji Simo
Instacart CEO Fidji Simo / Instacart

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If Amazon is trying to build the iPhone of the grocery industry, I wrote in 2019, Instacart is building the Android.

The idea behind my smartphone analogy was that Instacart, the grocery delivery service, was building an operating system and e-commerce platform that any grocery retailer could use to credibly sell online — putting them on nearly the same footing as their giant, more vertically integrated competitors, Amazon and Walmart.

A lot has changed in the world since then, and Amazon’s execution in online grocery has hardly been iPhone-like in its elegance or success.

But Instacart’s platform and marketplace approach has worked — it’s huge, and it’s doing well:

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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 by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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