Customers flocked to Instacart’s app during the early days of pandemic lockdowns, but its growth plunged in mid-2021 as people returned to grocery stores, prompting questions about the long-term sustainability of the business.
Apoorva Mehta, Instacart’s co-founder and chief executive, stepped down that summer and Ms. Simo, a former Meta executive, took over. Under Ms. Simo, Instacart has increasingly focused on advertising and grocery software businesses, which has helped the company make money.
As the company’s shares began trading, Mr. Mehta reflected on the company’s ups and downs. “The first few years of the company, it wasn’t clear to the industry that Instacart was here to stay,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a question any longer.”
As part of its I.P.O., Instacart sold shares to investors before its formal “road show” pitches. PepsiCo, one of its advertising customers, was among them, buying $175 million shares. That move “sent a strong signal” to the market, Ms. Simo said.
The investment firms Sequoia Capital and D1 Capital are among Instacart’s largest outside shareholders, with Sequoia owning a 19 percent stake and D1 Capital 14 percent. Mr. Mehta holds an 11 percent stake, now worth roughly $1.2 billion. As to his plans for the windfall, he said, “That’s the billion-dollar question.”