How An Empty Refrigerator Inspired This Indian American To Build An $8B Firm

20 failed startups are what it took Apoorva Mehta to become a successful entrepreneur.

Mehta, the founder of a US-based grocery delivery app Instacart, stepped down from the company's board last year with a whopping $1.1 billion (₹9,194 crore) fortune after the launch of its IPO. While the number is enormous, it is a testament to his perseverance.

Interestingly, the delivery firm, now worth $8.8 billion (₹73,539 crore), had its genesis in Mehta's refrigerator.

The Story: Born and raised in India, Mehta earned a degree in engineering from the University of Waterloo. He then went on to work for e-commerce giant Amazon as a supply-chain engineer. After a two-year stint at the firm, Mehta quit to build up something of his own. The only challenge was that he had no clear plan. 

See Also: How A School Drop-Out Went On To Build A Business That Rakes In ₹500 Cr In Revenue

Over the next two years, Mehta tried his hands at some 20-odd startups, he told CNBC in an interview. From an advertising startup for gaming companies to a social network for lawyers, Mehta's entrepreneurial attempts spanned the gamut — none of them amounted to much.

It was then that his refrigerator reportedly became the game changer. Being low on groceries had become a perpetual problem for him.

Often he'd open the refrigerator's door to find himself staring into the empty racks. That’s when he noticed a gap in the online delivery market.

While most people had turned to online shopping, groceries were still an untouched arena. Mehta also observed the effort involved in grocery shopping and recognised a significant market opportunity. And thus, Instacart was born in 2012.

When Instacart started, Mehta reportedly made deliveries himself via Uber. Ever since then, the company has seen a meteoric rise, especially during the pandemic.

In September last year, Instacart went public. The company priced its IPO at $30.00 per share and reportedly raised a total of $660 million. Mehta has now handed over all his responsibilities to the firm's current CEO Fidji Simo.

Mehta’s story explains that even though the journey to the pinnacle goes through a death zone but perseverance surely leads to the peak. 

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