From 20 Failed Ventures to Billionaire Success: The Story of Instacart Founder


Aborfa Mehta, a 37-year-old entrepreneur, turned his determination into a billion-dollar success story, leaving behind a trail of about 20 failed startups before finding success with Instacart.

In 2010, Mehta was working as a supply chain engineer at Amazon in Seattle. He took a leap of faith, resigning from his position and relocating to San Francisco with a vague idea of building his own startup.

"The reason I left my job at Amazon was that I wanted to become an entrepreneur," Mehta stated. "I didn't know what my idea would be."

Over the next two years, his entrepreneurial endeavors ranged from creating an advertising startup for gaming companies to a social network for lawyers. Unfortunately, all of them met with failure.

Finally, Mehta turned to his own refrigerator for inspiration. He identified his own grocery shopping habits as a persistent problem and believed he wasn't alone.

He also saw a gap in the booming online delivery market. "It was 2012, and we were ordering everything online except groceries," Mehta recalled. "I decided I was going to change that. I started coding the first version of the Instacart app, and after 3 weeks, the startup was born."

The beginning of Instacart was rough. Mehta wanted to join the startup accelerator Y Combinator, but he missed the application deadline in 2012. He managed to convince Y Combinator partners to secure a spot.

Y Combinator helped Mehta's company secure $2.3 million in capital funding within a few months, and Instacart quickly expanded beyond San Francisco. It now offers groceries from over 80,000 stores, including chains like Kroger, Costco, and Wegmans, in more than 14,000 cities across North America.

Before going public, Instacart reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the company had fulfilled over 900 million orders for customers, containing 20 billion items.

With the IPO, Mehta will step down as CEO, concluding 11 years of work with the company.

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