The One Thing Instacart’s Now-Billionaire CEO Changed after 20 Failed Startup Ideas

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According to the Entrepreneur, Instacart has a heck of a year. The company has spent $27 million in efforts to secure the recent victory of Proposition 22 in California, which will result in a labor law change that will benefit startups focused on the earnings economy. But before they hit the ballot box, the company had amassed one achievement after another this year.

In April 2020, Instacart had its first lucrative month of operation, which is becoming increasingly rare in Silicon Valley. And successful strategic partnerships continue to emerge; In the third quarter, the shipping app added retail giants Sephora and Bed Bath & Beyond to its options.

With additional investment rounds in 2020, the app’s rating more than doubled, making founder and CEO Apurva Mehta a billionaire at age 33. But before the giant grocery delivery app was built, Mehta had failed many times. What made his approach to Instacart different that made the company grow?

More than 20 failed startups in two years

Starting a business takes toughness. In addition to overcoming the dismal statistics – 20% of businesses fail in the first year and 50% fail within five years – a startup founder requires enthusiasm, persistence, and a lot of trial and error.

By profession a software engineer, Mehta left his career at Amazon to pursue entrepreneurship. He found that startup culture is intellectually demanding and stimulating; In one particular business, he spent a year building a social media platform specifically for lawyers.

However, an important element was missing from the equation: passion. In a 2017 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mehta noted that “when I walked home, I didn’t think about it because I didn’t give a damn about lawyers.” If you feel the same way about your business or side job … change something immediately.

The San Francisco entrepreneur loved to cook, and Mehta recalls how inconvenient it is to run around town to gather certain ingredients. This is how the business idea was born.

Instacart’s value proposition is nothing new, and in the past it has even been the business model of public companies. But the way consumers got used to e-commerce from smartphones was a huge opportunity.

Mehta scrutinized the successes and failures of Webvan, a grocery delivery company that rose to $1.2 billion after its 1999 IPO. Less than three years later, the company went bankrupt. However, this time it was different. Watching the steady rise in the number of other startups from San Francisco, Uber, Mehta realized that customers have become more and more accustomed to transactions via apps. The timing was right for a new brand to step in and run to the front. Mehta built the Instacart prototype in about a month and even delivered the groceries himself early on to fix any flaws

How to develop your next business idea

Passion is critical to the success of any startup, but it’s also important to know your market and make sure you don’t create something that no one else needs. Here are some ways to improve your chances of success.

  • Find out the cruel truth. When you want to get feedback on a business idea, the worst thing you can do is ask your mom or a group of friends what they think. Look for real reviews from potential buyers.
  • Be aware of market trends. It’s not about what you know, but when you know. Staying on top of trends and technologies for your industry can help you stay at the forefront.
  • Share the reasons for your business’s existence. How does this business make the world better? If so, you can drive a Lamborghini, return to the drawing board. Having a clear vision and mission for your business goals will be a source of renewable energy and inspiration when times get tough.

In Mehta’s words: “The reason for creating the company is to bring about a change in this world that you firmly believe in.” Focus on the changes you want to make, look for market opportunities, and your next successful business idea will appear before you realize it.

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