Instacart Takes a Big Step Toward a Public Offering

Instacart, a grocery delivery company, said Wednesday it would test the water for a public offer, despite recent volatility for tech stocks and the company’s own turmoil over the past year.

The company said it has filed papers for the so-called confidential filing, which means it has not yet been required to disclose specific data about the company. Filing doesn’t have to follow InstaCart with an initial public offering, but it’s considered a big step toward one.

If Instacart goes public, it will do so at dangerous times. Inflation and war in Ukraine have kept Wall Street cool in recent months for tech stocks, and according to Renaissance Capital, the number of IPOs fell 80 percent by May 4 a year earlier.

Instacart, which matches customers with home-based shoppers who pick up groceries from the store and then deliver them, has faced its own difficulties. In March, the company lowered its valuation from $ 40 billion to $ 24 billion, a rare move for private start-ups. Some employees complained that the change resulted in a pay cut.

As the number of Covid cases increased in 2020, the company saw an increase in its sales and revenue. But the acceleration slowed in the second quarter of 2021 as more people were vaccinated and returned to their regular shopping habits.

The company has been looking for direction ever since. It has tried to be more technology provider with its grocery partners over the years, but they have reacted with hesitation to new products.

Instacart’s founder and chief executive, Apoorva Mehta, was replaced by a former Facebook executive, although he remained chairman of the board. Other top officials, including two presidents, have also left.

Mr. Mehta was involved in a heated discussion with members of his board of directors, including conversations he had with DoorDash and Uber last year about the possible acquisition of Instacart, according to four people familiar with the situation. (Meredith Copit Lavian, chief executive of The New York Times, joined InstaCart’s board of directors in October 2021.)

Instacart was founded in 2012 by Mr. Mehta, as well as Max Mullen and Brandon Leonardo. Its main investors are Andreasen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and D1 Capital Partners.

The move to make the company public will be the next step in a new vision for InstaCart. Mehta. According to a person familiar with the situation, Instacart is working with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan on the offer.

In the blog posted on Wednesday to mark the 10th anniversary of Instacart, Ms. Simo did not directly address the company going public, but said Instacart was building technology for the next 10 years of its grocery business.

“Along the way we will have to navigate new challenges and volatile public markets,” she wrote. “But we have a vision to follow.”

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