Here’s the change the now billionaire Instacart CEO made after having 20 bad ideas

At 33, founder Apoorva Mehta’s grocery delivery app is valued at $ 17.7 billion.

5 min read

This article has been translated from our English edition.

Here’s the change the now billionaire Instacart CEO made after having 20 bad ideas
Here’s the change the now billionaire Instacart CEO made after having 20 bad ideas

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Instacart is having a great year. The company spent $ 27 million to secure Proposition 22’s recent victory in California, which will change labor laws that will benefit startups fueled by the gig economy. But before the election success, the company had already achieved one success after the other this year.

In April 2020, Instacart had its first profitable month of operation, an increasingly rare find in Silicon Valley. And successful strategic alliances continue to emerge. In the third quarter, the delivery app expanded retail giants Sephora and Bed Bath Beyond.

Thanks to additional investment rounds in 2020, the app’s rating has more than doubled, making the founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta a billionaire at just 33.

But before Mehta started the huge grocery delivery app, he was a flop many times. What was different about your approach to Instacart that made the company skyrocket?

More than 20 failed startups in a period of two years

Starting a business takes determination. Not only is a startup founder better than the dismal stats (20% of businesses fail in the first year and 50% fail in five years), it also requires passion, determination and a lot of trial and error.

A software developer by profession, Mehta left his career at Amazon to explore the entrepreneurial spirit. He found the challenge of the startup culture intellectually demanding and challenging; In one company in particular, he spent a year building a social media platform especially for lawyers.

However, a fundamental part of the equation was missing: passion. In an interview with Los Angeles times In 2017, Mehta remarked: “When I got home, I didn’t think about it because I didn’t care about lawyers.” If you think the same thing about your business, make a change right away.

The San Francisco businessman loved cooking, and Mehta recalls the inconvenience of rushing around town to collect special ingredients. This is how a business idea came about.

Image: Instacart

Timing is everything

Instacart’s value proposition is nothing new and has even been the business model of listed companies in the past. However, the way consumers got used to e-commerce using smartphones presented a tremendous opportunity.

Mehta had carefully studied the success and failure of Webvan, a grocery shipping company that rose to $ 1.2 billion after going public in 1999. Less than three years later, this company went bankrupt.

This time it was different. As Mehta watched the steady rise of the San Francisco startup Uber, he knew that customers were becoming more comfortable with app-based transactions. It was the right time for a new brand to jump in and rush forward. Mehta built the Instacart prototype in about a month and initially even supplied food himself to fix any problems.

This is how you develop your next business idea

Passion is critical to a startup’s success, but it’s also important to know your market and make sure you’re not building something that nobody wants. Here are some ways to improve your chances of success.

  • Get the Brutal Truth. If you’re looking to get feedback on a business idea, the worst part of the time is to ask your mom or group of friends what they think of it. Look for real feedback from potential buyers.
  • Stay up to date on market trends. It’s not about what you know, it’s about when You know. Staying up to date on trends and technologies in your particular industry means you can always be one step ahead.
  • Find out why your company exists. How can this business be improved in the world? If so, can you drive a Lamborghini, go back to the drawing board. Having a clear vision and mission for your business purpose becomes a source of renewable energy and inspiration in difficult times.

According to Mehta, “the reason you start a business is to create a change that you firmly believe in in this world.” Focus on the changes you want to make, look for market opportunities, and your next successful business idea will be here before you know it.

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