Instacart founder and current executive chairman Apoorva Mehta announced yesterday that once the company goes through its initial public offering (IPO), he will step down from his role and leave the company's board of directors.
“Instacart has been my life’s work for more than a decade," he said in a statement. "Since I transitioned from CEO to Executive Chairman a year ago, I realized that I want to pursue a new mission and I want to do it with the same singular focus that I had while building Instacart. Stepping off the board will allow me to do just that. We have a high caliber leadership team with Fidji at the helm, and I’m excited about her vision for the company and the expanded role Instacart can play for retailers for years to come. I remain confident in the enormous opportunity ahead and will always be a supporter of the team and company.”
The company said that CEO Fidji Simo will become chair of the board when Mehta departs.
TechCrunch offers this analysis:
"Founders often transition to executive chairman roles as their companies grow, pivot or require new leadership as the business shifts from a private startup to a public company. Think of the transition as going from being involved with day-to-day decisions to overseeing broader strategy, from time to time. Mehta’s plan to leave an already distant role may mean competitive dynamics are afoot between Instacart and his 'new mission' that he alluded to. Instacart did not address questions related to competitive dynamic at play. Mehta’s departure could also just be a clean break after rising tensions between him and the board that he once appointed."
And, the Wall Street Journal writes:
"San Francisco-based Instacart hasn’t said when it plans to go public. In May, the company said it had confidentially filed for an IPO, less than two months after cutting its valuation by nearly 40%. The Wall Street Journal reported at the time that Instacart was positioning itself to go public as early as September, according to people familiar with the offering."
- KC's View:
Instacart is a different company than it was, and so it makes sense for Mehta to depart once he's been able to cash out through the IPO.
I've certainly had my problems with Instacart's value proposition over the years, but there is no denying the fact that they've changed the game when it comes to e-grocery, helping retailers of all sizes to be more competitive with the likes of Amazon. It will be interesting to see which industries he decides to disrupt next.