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Instacart

Mission: At Instacart we aim to give our customers back their invaluable time so they can spend it doing the things they love with the people they love.
Locations:
San Francisco, California
New York, New York
Washington, District Of Columbia
Toronto, Ontario
Employees: 1959
Funding:
  • $1 billion total funding
  • Series E round $350 million - 2018

Company Q&A

Q: What is your employee retention rate like inside of Instacart?

Q: In four years, what kind of difference do you hope Instacart will have lead?

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Team Members

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Jobs At Instacart

Open availability at Instacart

Location: San Francisco, California
Description: We re on a mission to revolutionize grocery shopping. Our technology gives customers access to their...
View all 6 jobs

Instacart Salaries

30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 10% 20% 30% 40%
Top 25%
$36,229
Average
$31,503
Bottom 25%
$20,477

Employee Reviews

Shopper "I like that you can kind of work whenever you want, but recently Instacart has been hiring way too many shoppers and the amount of hours you can work have been dramatically decreased. It can get pretty stressful at times too, and there's nothing worse than having to drive 60km to deliver a banana because you can't cancel as many orders anymore."
Hard working and flexible schedule
Internal "Fun to work at a company thats funded by the likes of Andreesen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital makes you feel like you're at the top of the world. There's a lot of room for growth and we're only at the start of the industries curve, but I there needs to be more of an emphasis on work/life balance, and a stronger focus at tackling the hard problems with high impact, instead of the low hanging fruit."
Shopper "Good parts of the job are that you get flexible hours and that you're working by yourself. Unfortunately there are too many negatives though, your pay can completely change from day to day depending on luck, you have to work super fast to get even a minimum wage, and we're not compensated for any costs of working like our data use or our gas."
Internal "Instacart is really changing the entire grocery industry. It feels great to be able to help people who don't have it as easy as the rest of us, people with dissabilities, elderly, and everyone else, to get all the groceries they need. Love working with this team to help these people, super smart group of people who are humble and hard working, very motivating to be around."
Being backed by the top venture funds makes this a really nice and stable job to work at. Lots of opportunities to grow into new roles as we keep hiring more and more people, and there's definitely a lot of money flowing around the office. Like any company that has been relying a lot on investments though we've made some recent decisions to focus on short term profits instead of long term strategy which defniitely hindered our trajectory. Recently these problems have been addressed though.

Instacart Glassdoor Themes

High growth

Being backed by the top venture funds makes this a really nice and stable job to work at. Lots of opportunities to grow into new roles as we keep hiring more and more people, and there's definitely a lot of money flowing around the office. Like any company that has been relying a lot on investments though we've made some recent decisions to focus on short term profits instead of long term strategy which defniitely hindered our trajectory. Recently these problems have been addressed though.
Instacart gives stock options when you join and the way that this company is growing, it's pretty exciting to see that value constantly go up, especially when its because of your own efforts. We're completely changing the grocery industry and the executive team has some really visionary ideas of what the future holds for us. Can't wait to see what's to come!

Low compensation

For some reason Instacart waited almost 18 months to hire new engineers when we already knew that we would need more engineers to solve the oh so many problems we have with the software. Super frustrating to have hundreds of issues to be solved, with media harassing us that we don't treat our shoppers well, but we just don't have enough people to solve the work. Lots of pressure to cut out your life and just non-stop work on the company.
Really love the work that we're doing at Instacart. Helping people get the food they need without the hassle is actually helping many people live healthier lifestyles. The one downside of the job though is your pay is pretty low because they give you equity %, but this equity is tied up until the IPO so its very non liquid.

Positive internal team

Definitely the best team I've ever been a part of. Highly motivated, intelligent, hard-working people who are driven to change the industry, but humble enough that you can hang out with them outside work. Really great culture that isn't even pushed by management, it just comes from the people itself.
There's a lot of work that needs to be done on a daily basis which is always exciting. Projects are usually highly complex, involving unique data problems that have many angles (shopper side, retailer side, customer side, etc.). Sometimes it can feel overwhelming but we're given the space to work on what we like and at our own time.

What do customers say about Instacart?

“"I really can't express how amazing Instacart has been for my whole family. A friend introduced me to the company a couple years ago when they first started and since then I've gotten my whole family to use it and I've seen them constantly add new items on an almost weekly basis.

I have a weekly cart that I've saved for my family that has all the essentials that we constantly go through, peanut butter, bread, eggs, milk, chicken, etc. Every Sunday we get the order to come at 2:00 pm almost exactly, and I never have to worry that I won't be there when the order comes because they're almost always on time.

Recently my husband has started using Instacart to get groceries delivered to his parents. They're too old to drive to the store, walk around the long aisles, and get all their groceries themselves. Instacart gives them the ability to have healthy and fresh food delivered whenever they need it.

We've had some problems with items being different than what we've ordered in the past, but I can totally understand that in the rush it can be difficult to find some things. If you stick to the staples you'll always get what you order, and it's pretty rare that you'll get wrong orders."”

How do I become a shopper for Instacart?

“To become a shopper for Instacart all you have to do is apply online through the Instacart website. From there you'll be asked to do an order for a customer, where the app will ask you some easy questions (like the difference between vegan and vegetarian, etc.), and it'll time how quickly you were able to complete the order. If you pass the first order you'll be an official Instacart shopper.”

What's the best part about being an Instacart shopper?

“I really like that I can just work alone and don't really have to deal with anyone else. I put my headphones in, take the orders, move quickly, and get to keep seeing new parts of the city. No more boss or manager breathing down my neck, I just get to work how I like to work.”

How much work can I expect to get as a shopper?

“Honestly it can really depend day by day. On average I've found that I make about $12 an hour, but some days you'll be making $25, and others as low as $1. What it depends on is tips and how easy the orders are. Sometimes you have to lug 80 lbs of water around the city for 40 cents which, as you can imagine, really sucks.”

What's the tech stack at Instacart?

“"There are a lot of cool projects and complex problems that we have to work on on a daily basis here, and so our techstack really reflects our need for strong analytics and a diverse range of languages.

We use:

- Ruby on Rails - React - Redux - Backbone.js - CoffeeScript - SCSS - Redis - Memcache - PostgreSQL - EC2

- Objective-C - Android Java - Python - R - AWS - S3 - Redshift - EMR - Spark - Snowflake

We're definitely a technology driven team so we recognize the need to constantly make sure we're using languages that reflect how we want to work. We try not to spread ourselves too thin, while also walking along the line of implementing things in whatever works best for the problem."”

What's the interview process like to join the internal team?

Usually takes around 3-4 weeks. Involves an initial phone screening, then some in person interviews with the hiring manager and a couple other people that you might be working with. They'll also ask you to complete a coding challenge that involves some sql among other technologies (although this depends on the role you apply for).

How can I make sure I become successful at Instacart?

Instacart is growing very quickly and there's a lot of work that needs to be done on a daily basis. If you're able to show your dedication to the overall vision of the company, and put in the time to tackle the harder problems that we're facing, you'll definitely be recognized for your drive and given many opportunities to grow.

What are the benefits and perks of Instacart?

Instacart really wants us to feel comfortable and at ease working here. They give us unlimited vacation and sick days, free lunches and dinners daily, an iced coffee keg, laptops and other tech that can be brought home, unlimited snacks, and free instacart express. We also get a package for medical, dental, & vision insurance, and have recently introduced a 401k plan.

How would you describe the office environment of Instacart?

“"Working at Instacart you can definitely feel a strong sense of comaderie and driven passion towards the company goal. Because of this underlying want to work on real problems that have real consequences, the overall environment is very productive and positive.

The people are what really make it a great place to work. The team has done a great job at hiring competent people that you can rely on when they commit to different projects. Everyone knows that the stakes are high, we're facing off against Amazon, so we have to move fast and constantly perform at our best, and this team does it.

I really cannot say enough about how amazing the people I work with are. The majority of my friends outside the office are actually people who work at Instacart aswell. Noone has an attitude and everyone is generally very humble.

We've matured a lot in the last year which is great to see at a company. We were previously not really that focussed on long term goals and you could feel it through the company morale. In the last couple quarters though we've started focussing on long term strategy and you can definitely feel the focus as people just generally seem more alligned and aware of where we're going."”

About Instacart

Instacart is a same-day grocery firm offering delivery in as little as one hour. The Company is focused on groceries and home essentials. Instacart facilitates users to connect with personal shoppers in their area who pick up and deliver groceries from local stores.

Founded in 2012 by founders Apoorva Mehta, Brandon Leonardo, and Max Mullen, Instacart is based in San Francisco California. With over 500,000 items in their catalogue for purchase, Instacart has grown quickly since its inception in 2012, gaining over $1 billion in investment from venture funds such as Andreesen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Y Combinator.

Instacart is a rapidly growing company across the world, backed by top investment firms, they're constantly expanding into new regions. Although there are many opportunities to join the internal team of Instacart for business development, software engineering, and marketing, the majority of positions are for joining their shopper team. This article will focus on both Instacart's shopper perspective and the internal team.

Positive reviews from shoppers report enjoying the flexible hours, the quick response from internal staff, the high frequency of getting paid, and the opportunity to work alone. Negative reviews from employees report being frustrated with the intensity and speed you have to work at, the low pay, the long trips, and the lack of correlation between difficulty in transporting some items versus the pay you get for them.

Positive reviews from the internal team report enjoying the opportunity to change the grocery industry, the interesting and difficult unique data problems that have to be solved, the supportive, transparent, and humble team, and the high growth of the company. Negative reviews from the internal team report being frustrated with the lack of a long term plan, the lack of work/life balance, the high turnover, the fact there are too many first time directors, and that the pay is below market value.

Values and Beliefs

Instacart has 5 core values that drive how the company interacts with their internal employees and how they focus on their future. These 5 core values are:

- Solve for the Customers. Instacart knows that the number one way they can provide value is by providing value to the customers. Without customers, there would be no instacart.

- This is your Baby. Instacart builds a system where people have complete autonomy and responsibility for their projects. They hold eachother accountable for results and ask "would you put your name on this" for everything.

- Every Minute Counts. Instacart knows that they are in a battle for marketshare against the giant Amazon. Instacart works fast and efficiently to gain an advantage over the competition.

- Of Course but Maybe. Instacart knows that to differentiate from the rest they need to dream big. Constantly challenging eachother to ask what the future of the company can be, Instacart wants to dominate the grocery delivery market and beyond.

- Go Far, Together. Recognizing that a company can only grow if it leverages all the people that are working there, Instacart follows the saying "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together".

Interview Questions

*Joining the shopper team is through a simple online application - follow through the instacart website - meet in store for a shopping speed test*

*Joining the internal team is a full scale interview process*

Why are you interested in joining Instacart?

How do you feel about change?

Why are you leaving your current company?

Application test.

History

Instacart was started by APoorva Mehta, a former Amazon employee, and was initially launched in San Francisco California. Instacart was one of the original companies to go through the Y Combinator accelerator, and gained a lot of initial traction after the first few years.

By 2015 Instacart already had about $275 million in funding and an evaluation of $2 billion. Forbes named Instacart 'the most promising company in America'. From 2014 to 2016 the company expandded to over 1,200 cities in 25 states, and by 2017 had raised another $400 million in venture money, making them evaluated at about $3.4 billion.

Instacart has received a lot of criticism for their treatment of their shopping workers, agreeing to pay a $4.6 million class action settlement for misclassification of the shopper employees as contractors. Many Instacart workers participated in a strike in November 2017, alleging wages of $1 an hour.

The company continues to grow year over year and is looking to dominate the shopping industry, competing directly with Amazon.