EXCLUSIVE: Instacart Founder On Company’s Billion-Dollar IPO

The conference room of a sparse downtown office in San Francisco, Apoorva Mehta recounts his time at Instacart, the grocery delivery company he cofounded and led until two years ago. Sitting in the headquarters of his new startup, a still-unlaunched digital health company called Cloud Health Systems, Mehta addresses controversy that has long swirled around his departure.

He doesn’t mince words: “A lot of people have said that perhaps I was pushed out of the company. The reality is, if I wanted to be the CEO of Instacart, I would be the CEO of Instacart.” He left, he says, because his new startup demanded his “singular focus.”

Mehta hasn’t given an interview since stepping down as CEO in July 2021, when he handed the company reins to Fidji Simo, the longtime Meta executive who ran the Facebook app. He’s been serving as executive chairman since then, with the intention of leaving the board after Instacart listed on the public markets. On Tuesday, when Instacart went public, raising $660 million in a $9.9 billion IPO — a dramatic discount from its high-flying valuation of $39 billion just years earlier — he made good on that promise.

Going public was a dream Mehta may or may not have wanted, depending on who you ask. Mehta had a contentious relationship with board member Michael Mortiz, the former boss at Sequoia and an early investor in Instacart, three people with knowledge of the situation told Forbes. The fissure was largely due to Mehta’s reluctance to take the company public.

Mehta tells Forbes now that he wasn’t against going public eventually, but he didn’t think it was the right move at the time. The company’s growth had exploded during the pandemic, and its infrastructure had been stretched thin. Meanwhile, CFO Sagar Sanghvi had recently left the company, Mehta said, a crucial loss ahead of a complicated financial process. Sanghvi’s replacement, Nick Giovani, started in January 2021. An IPO was just too much for that moment.

Instacart declined to comment. Sequoia didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Read the full story on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/richardnieva/2023/09/19/apoorva-mehta-instacart-ipo-exclusive/?sh=7ab72a415a04

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