Instacart closes up 12% in Wall Street debut

The grocery tech company surged in early trading but faltered by day’s end, finishing its first day as a public company with a valuation just over $11 billion.
Instacart bell ring
Instacart CEO Fidji Simo rings the opening bell as her grocery tech firm becomes a publicly traded company. / Photo courtesy: Instacart

Instacart CEO Fidji Simo on Tuesday rang a custom carrot-shaped bell from her headquarters in San Francisco, a nod to the grocery tech firm’s logo, opening trading on Nasdaq and launching Instacart’s future as a publicly traded company.

Instacart, which had priced its shares at $30—the high end of its range—surged in early trading, with an opening price of $42 per share.

But the delivery company’s share price dipped throughout the day, closing at $33.70, about a 12% gain during its first day. Instacart, trading under the ticker symbol CART, was down about 3% in pre-market trading early Wednesday.

Instacart’s IPO comes after about 18 months of go-public speculation. The 11-year-old company confidentially filed go-public documents in May 2022, but Simo put those plans on ice about six months later, saying Wall Street wasn’t hospitable to tech IPOs.

During that time, Instacart’s reported valuation dropped from about $39 billion to $9.9 billion at the time of its IPO. After the market closed Tuesday, Instacart was worth about $11 billion, about 3.9 times its annual revenue.

Instacart, which sold 22 million shares, added about $420 million in cash to its balance sheet after the IPO.

“We felt that it was really important to give our employees liquidity,” Simo told CNBC. “This IPO is not about raising money for us. It’s really about making sure that all the employees have liquidity on stocks that they work very hard for. We weren’t looking for a perfect market window.”

Instacart now serves about 85% of the U.S. grocery market, including about 1,400 retail banners at more than 80,000 locations.

In deciding to go public, Simo noted that just 12% of sales in the $1.1 trillion grocery industry are made online.

“As even more people shop online, online penetration could double or more over time,” she noted in the company’s prospectus.




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