Apoorva Mehta Biography

(American Businessman and Founder of Grocery Delivery Company ‘Instacart’)

Born: 1986

Born In: India

Apoorva Mehta is an Indian-born American entrepreneur. He is the CEO of the San Francisco-based on-demand online grocery shop 'Instacart.' Apoorva co-founded this venture along with Max Mullen and Brandon Leonardo in 2012. Before 'Instacart' came into being, Apoorva had attempted to start 20 start-ups, including a network for lawyers. Unfortunately, none of those companies worked. Unaffected by his failures, Apoorva was soon hit by the idea of selling groceries online and founded 'Instacart.' The company now has a healthy turnover that amounts to billions. It has a large number of employees working for it. An engineering graduate from the 'University of Waterloo,' Apoorva worked for companies such as 'Blackberry,' ‘Qualcomm,’ and 'Amazon,' before he became an entrepreneur. His achievements have earned him a spot on the list of 'Forbes 30 Under 30: All-Star Alumni.'
Early Life & Education
Apoorva was born in India. In 2008, he completed his electrical engineering from the 'University of Waterloo.' Following this, Apoorva worked as a design engineer with 'Blackberry' and then with 'Qualcomm.' He also worked at a steel factory for a brief period. He then moved to Seattle, where he joined 'Amazon' as a supply chain engineer.
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The Start-Up Story
While working with 'Amazon,' Apoorva realized that working in a corporate environment minimizes opportunities of learning. However, working as a supply chain engineer made Apoorva realize his passion for software development and challenges. Nevertheless, he decided to quit 'Amazon' in 2010. Following this, Apoorva focused on developing ideas for a start-up.
Apoorva then moved to San Francisco, where he spent the next two years applying his learnings. Before starting 'Instacart,' he tried to start 20 companies. Apoorva once tried building an advertising network for social gaming companies. He had also developed a social network called 'LegalReach,' meant exclusively for lawyers. The research and development process for the network was done poorly, and Apoorva and his partner did not realize the uselessness of the site. Soon, they had to shut the portal down. Following this, Apoorva and his partner parted ways. Similarly, none of his other start-ups worked out.
Apoorva did not own a car in San Francisco. He loved to cook but had no proper grocery shop near his house. The online grocery store options that were available had limited items to choose from. This situation proved a blessing in disguise as it encouraged Apoorva to explore opportunities in online grocery business.
Apoorva began working on developing a delivery platform for on-demand groceries. In about less than a month, he developed an application through which people could order groceries online. He also developed a version of the application for in-store customers. Apoorva became the first user of the application and conducted its first test-run. Since he did not have any shoppers back then, he himself placed an order through the app, went to the store, and delivered the groceries to himself. Keeping the on-demand instant delivery concept in mind, Apoorva named the start-up 'Instacart.'
The expansion of 'Instacart' was not free of issues. Apoorva faced a class-action lawsuit in 2015. According to the lawsuit, the workers who shopped for and delivered the groceries were misclassified as independent contractors. As a result, Apoorva decided to make 'Instacart’s' shoppers its part-time employees. He also offered some benefits, such as health insurance, to them.
While researching for setting up an online grocery business, Apoorva learned a lot from the failure story of 'Webvan,' an online grocery start-up that had crashed miserably. After ‘Webvan's failure, investors were not interested in investing in such start-ups. Thankfully, the ‘Webvan’ disaster had taken place several years back. Thus, Apoorva did not have to struggle a lot to get technical developers and investors for 'Instacart.'
Apoorva launched 'Instacart' in 2012, two years after leaving 'Amazon.' Currently, this San Francisco-based company holds more than a thousand shoppers and has more than two hundred employees.
After 20 failed attempts, Apoorva successfully established a business that is now flourishing. He was placed on the list of 'America's Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40' in 2016. Apoorva also earned a spot on the 'Forbes 30 Under 30 - All-Star-Alumni' list in 2017. In January 2015, 'Instacart' was named “the Most Promising Company in America” by ‘Forbes.’

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