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It All Started With an Empty Refrigerator, and Now Instacart Co-founder Apoorva Mehta Is a Billionaire

Mehta, who is the largest individual shareholder of Instacart, is worth more than $1.1 billion after selling 700,000 shares of the company.
Instacart | Getty Images | Justin Sullivan
Instacart | Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

After 900 million grocery deliveries, Apoorva Mehta has turned into a billionaire. Mehta, 27, is the co-founder of Instacart, the online grocery startup that recently went public and now boasts a market value of more than $8 billion. Mehta, the largest individual shareholder, is worth more than $1.1 billion as of 2023 after selling 700,000 shares of the company, which was started back in 2012. He told CNBC that this venture was not his first business. He worked on about 20 businesses and all of them failed before he found success with Instacart.

Apoorva Mehta | Steve Jennings | Getty Images
Apoorva Mehta | Steve Jennings | Getty Images

In 2010, Mehta was living in Seattle and working in Logistics for Amazon as a supply chain engineer. He later quit his job and moved to San Francisco with a desire to build his own business. However, he told CNBC that he did not have any plans... "The reason why I quit my job at Amazon was because I wanted to become an entrepreneur," Mehta said. "I didn’t know what my idea was going to be."

He explored several ventures including an advertising startup for gaming companies and a social network for lawyers. However, all of them failed. Finally, he realized that there was an ongoing problem in his life, which was that his fridge was almost always low on groceries.


"This was 2012 and we were ordering everything online, except for groceries," he told CNBC. This is when he decided to change that and started coding the first version of the Instacart app and, three weeks later, Instacart was born. He said that the company however got off to a not-so-great start and even missed a deadline to apply to get into the startup accelerator Y Combinator.

He later managed to impress Y Combinator’s partners by using his app to deliver a six-pack of beer to the HQ which secured him a spot. Y Combinator then helped Mehta land $2.3 million in venture capital and the company then expanded beyond San Francisco.

Instacart provides same-day delivery services. Customers can order groceries from a variety of retailers through the online application portal and the items are delivered on the same day. The company said that the groceries are sourced from a variety of local vendors and it delivers them within an hour which is also the company's slogan.  


Instacart currently has many partners including Costco, Kroger, CVS, Sam's Club, Sprouts,  Wegmans, and more. It uses a shared economy-based business model and links consumers with personal shoppers. It does not own a grocery store of its own. Instead, it serves as a marketplace for the grocery stores. Customers on the app can choose their preferred grocery store, browse through the grocery items, add quantity, and confirm their order. 

Apoorva Mehta was born in Jodhpur, India, and the family moved around a lot when he was a kid. The family immigrated to Canada in 2000. He earned his Bachelor's degree in engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2009 and was also a part of the Summer 2012 batch of Y Combinator, which contributed to the launch of Instacart. The company had more than 200 employees as of 2015.