In a blog post on the company's website, Mehta shared the news of the appointment and why he believes Simo will be the right person to lead Instacart into its next chapter, adding that he will remain very engaged in the business on a day-to-day basis and will partner with Simo on long-term and strategic moves for Instacart.
He said, "Building Instacart over the last 10 years has been the most challenging and fulfilling experience of my life. When we first started the company, most people didn’t think we would succeed. We were rejected by investors who told us that bringing the grocery industry online would prove to be impossible.
"Retailers were reluctant to work with us because they did not believe a technology startup out of San Francisco would understand the nuances of the grocery business or would want to help their companies thrive. And we were constantly questioned about whether we could be profitable in such a thin margin industry."
Now, Instacart reaches tens of millions of households across North America, and has raised a total of $2.7bn in funding since launching in 2012.
Online grocery sales surge
According to a recent report by Rabobank, online grocery sales reached 'peak share of wallet' in January 2021, accounting for 17% of consumer spending.
Rabobank also reported that online groceries – including direct delivery and hybrid models – expanded at triple-digit growth rates in 2020 as they were able to meet surging demand from consumers who increased their order frequency from 2.88 to 3.87 orders per month.
Mehta continued, "While I had never previously contemplated the idea of someone else running the company, this changed when I met Fidji... [she] will simply be a better CEO than me for Instacart’s coming years. I believe that with Fidji at the helm we’ll be in an even stronger position to seize the incredible opportunity in front of us."
Simo spent many years at Facebook where she was part of every big moment of the company's history including its IPO in 2012 and helping grow the company from 1,000 to nearly 100,000 employees, and was behind the launch of the Facebook app.
Simo, who joined Instacart's board in January 2021, commented, "As we think about the future of food, we believe the way people eat and their relationship with food will fundamentally change over the next decade. They'll expect a more convenient experience, the widest selection of food at their fingertips, faster delivery times, increased personalization, and more inspiration.
"Instacart has an opportunity to deliver all of that for customers, while also becoming an even stronger ally and growth accelerator for retailers and advertisers, and helping create economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of shoppers."