Pandemic fattens value of grocery delivery star Instacart

US grocery delivery startup Instacart on Thursday said it has raised $200 million in a funding round that valued it at $17.7 billion with its business surging during the pandemic.

The San Francisco-based group uses independent gig workers to shop and deliver groceries, and has seen demand soar as people avoiding the novel coronavirus turned to it for grocery shopping.

Instacart’s value has doubled since the start of this year, when it was valued at nearly $8 billion, according to US media reports.

“Covid-19 has forever changed the way people shop for their groceries and goods,” the startup said in a release announcing the funding round.

“As a result, Instacart has gone from a convenience to a lifeline for millions of people.”

Instacart delivers shopping orders from nearly 40,000 store locations across North America, according to the startup.

Instacart’s latest valuation now puts it on par with shared lodging startup Airbnb, which has seen its value plumet due to the pandemic’s hit on the travel industry.

San Francisco-based Airbnb was valued at $18 billion in an April funding rond, nearly half of the worth placed on the startup by investors before the pandemic.

Airbnb has, nonetheless, started the process of going public with an initial public offering of stock. (AFP)