Instacart Acquires Toronto’s Unata to Focus on E-Commerce

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Big news in the on-demand grocery world: Instacart has acquired Unata.

The San Francisco-based Instacart is a North American leader in the grocery delivery service. Their acquisition of the Toronto-based Unata–a provider of one-to-one digital solutions for grocers—will allow Instacart to incorporate their platform and scale quickly to keep up with other companies in what is fast becoming a competitive grocery-meets-technology ecosystem. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As the companies work together, Instacart will look to enable the future of online grocery shopping by combining the Unata team with Instacart’s own innovative services to focus on delivering a more comprehensive experience for customers. Instacart, founded by University of Waterloo grad and Canadian Apoorva Mehta, was named as the U.S.’s most promising company by Forbes for 2015.

This is a big pickup for Instacart, as Unata was recently listed at number 11 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 with a four-year growth rate of 4270 per cent. Five major regional U.S. retailers using Unata’s e-commerce platform reported on average a 44 per cent growth in online sales—double the national average. That data refers to both click-and-collect as well as home delivery, a trend that shows more customers want e-commerce options from their grocers. Those brands Unata works with included Lowes Foods and Lunds & Byerlys. In terms of local Canadian partners, Unata works with retailers like Longo’s.

“We’re really excited about partnering with Instacart and we have a huge amount of respect and admiration for what Instacart has built–the largest independent e-commerce solution for grocers who want to come online,” said Chris Bryson, CEO of Unata. “By combining their established technology and scale with Unata’s highly customizable and flexible white-label digital platform, we can combine our product offering to go beyond picking, packing and delivery and become a one-stop solution for grocery retailers that will help them compete even more in this increasingly digital age. Last but not least, both companies have been on a similar mission to innovate the grocery industry and together we can go further.”

Unata’s headquarters will remain in Toronto and become an independent subsidiary of Instacart, maintaining their name and brand. Bryson will remain in his current role and report to Instacart’s chief business officer, Nilam Ganenthiran. Instacart will look to continue investing in resources and innovation for both themselves and Unata as the companies merge into a single powerhouse platform.

“Instacart’s mission has always been to be an independent partner to retailers and enable them to give their customers the best experiences using the best technology,” said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart. “This acquisition allows us to take that commitment to the next level. It represents a landmark win for retailers, who will benefit from Instacart’s scale, Unata’s highly configurable technology, and the deep grocery industry integrations this acquisition will enable.”

Instacart has had an explosive 2017, expanding from 30 to 190 markets in the year alone. The grocery delivery platform partnered with Loblaws last month to deliver in Toronto. Instacart and Loblaws also revealed a big announcement for other Canadian cities. The two partners will expand services to the Ottawa, Kitchener-Waterloo and the St. Catharines and Niagara Falls regions starting tomorrow, January 17.

Early last year, Unata’s director of communications wrote for Techvibes about why culture is a core value for the company.

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