Instacart, the food delivery company, said Wednesday it would test the waters for a public offering, despite recent volatility in tech stocks and the company’s own turmoil over the past year.
The company said it has filed papers for a so-called confidential filing, meaning it is not yet required to disclose certain data about the company. The filing doesn’t require Instacart to do an IPO, but it’s seen as a big step toward one.
If Instacart goes public then it will will do so at a risky time. Wall Street, fearful of inflation and the war in Ukraine, has been cool on tech stocks in recent months, and the number of IPOs was down 80 percent year-on-year through May 4, according to Renaissance Capital.
Instacart, which matches shoppers at home with shoppers who choose groceries in stores and then delivers them, has addressed its own problems. March, The company lowered its rating from $40 billion to $24 billion, a rare move for a private start-up. Some employees complained that the change amounted to a pay cut.
As the number of Covid cases increased in 2020, the company saw an increase in sales and revenue. But the acceleration slowed in the second quarter of 2021 as more people got vaccinated and returned to their normal shopping habits.
Since then, The company was looking for a direction. It has attempted to become more of a technology provider for the food partners it has worked with over the years, but they have responded with ambivalence about new products.
Instacart’s founder and CEO, Apoorva Mehta, was replaced by a former Facebook executive but remained chairman of the board. Other top executives have also left, including two presidents.
Mr Mehta has been embroiled in tense discussions with members of his board, including talks he had with DoorDash and Uber last year about a possible acquisition of Instacart, according to four people with knowledge of the situation. (New York Times executive Meredith Kopit Levien joined Instacart’s board of directors in October 2021.)
Instacart was founded in 2012 by Mr. Mehta along with Max Mullen and Brandon Leonardo. Lead investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital and D1 Capital Partners.
The move to take the company public would be the next step in the new vision for Instacart drafted by Fidji Simo, the chief executive who stood in for Mr. Mehta last summer. According to a person familiar with the situation, Instacart is working with Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan on the offer.
In a blog published Wednesday celebrating Instacart’s 10th anniversary, Ms. Simo didn’t directly address the company’s IPO, but said Instacart is building technology for the next 10 years of its grocery business.
“Along the way we must face new challenges and volatile public markets,” she wrote. “But we have a vision worth pursuing.”