Instacart had its initial public offering today, landing on the NASDAQ exchange under the stock symbol "CART." The IPO raised $660 million, with shares popping 43% in initial trading, temporarily giving the company a valuation of $14 billion.
This IPO has been a while in the making, and going back at least four or five years, the San Francisco-based grocery-delivery app was among a small queue of local tech companies from this last boom rumored to be going public at some point. Uber and Airbnb made it out of the gate earlier, and after making an initial filing back in May 2022 and waiting out last year's uncertain economy, Instacart is taking its moment, initially pricing shares at $30.
The company has been facing stiff competition since the heyday of the early pandemic, when at one point it was valued at $40 billion, and as many people have returned to doing their own shopping. As the Associated Press explains, big grocery chains like Walmart and Texas-based H-E-B have begun doing their own deliveries and charging less for it, and companies like Uber have moved into the grocery space as well.
Instacart still maintains partnerships with the likes of Costco, Safeway, Kroger, and Wegmans, but as CNBC notes, the company "had to drop its stock price dramatically to make it appealing for public market investors."
As Reuters reports, Instacart's core business turned profitable for the first time in 2022, ten years after its founding — and like many tech startups, it had largely sacrificed profits for growth.
Despite some slumping delivery numbers, as the AP notes, Instacart has been seeing a rise in revenue due to advertising deals it has struck with food companies and grocery chains. The company continues to show a profit, with $114 million in net income in the most recent quarter.
After an 18-month dry spell for IPOs, the strength of Instacart's IPO as well as those of two other companies last week — chip designer Arm and radiopharmaceutical company RayzeBio — may encourage others to go public soon, Reuters suggests.
After bumping up to a price of $41.38 at its IPO Tuesday, Instacart shares were trading around $39 in the afternoon.
Photo: Marques Thomas