Fidji Simo transitioned to Instacart following an extensive tenure at Facebook, where she held a prominent position as one of Mark Zuckerberg’s top deputies. Today, she is spearheading Instacart’s journey to go public.
Today, 19.09.2023, Instacart initiates trading on Nasdaq. This eagerly awaited initial public offering aims to secure up to $660 million in funding, valuing the grocery delivery firm at over $9 billion.
Instacart’s performance in the San Francisco-based company will serve as a litmus test for other firms considering going public, such as German shoemaker Birkenstock, and numerous startups that achieved unicorn status (private valuations of $1 billion or more) during the 2010s. These startups have been awaiting favorable market conditions to launch their shares.
The individual at the helm of Instacart’s transition to the public domain is CEO Fidji Simo. Simo assumed this role in 2021 after a distinguished tenure at Facebook (now Meta), where she played a significant role as one of co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s key deputies. To grasp the Instacart IPO and its potential, it’s essential to comprehend Simo’s leadership and her role in guiding the company into the public markets.
Fidji Simo: An Esteemed Facebook Veteran
Fidji Simo, a marketing professional by background, dedicated a decade of her career from 2011 to 2021 to Facebook. During her tenure, she took charge of the prominent Facebook app. Additionally, she held positions as VP of video games and monetization, as well as director of product management. Simo gained recognition as a potential candidate to succeed Mark Zuckerberg in leadership.
Simo Introduced Elements Of The Facebook Playbook To Instacart
Similar to Facebook’s IPO in 2012, Instacart is set to go public as a profitable company. The grocery delivery platform witnessed a 15% increase in revenue in the last quarter compared to the same quarter in 2022.
Simo achieved these impressive growth metrics by not only reducing operating expenses but also by spearheading the introduction of Instacart’s advertising business. This innovative approach leverages shopper data to enable advertising to Instacart consumers during their shopping experience, even allowing for customized content related to specific ingredients. In the previous year, nearly one-third of Instacart’s revenue, approximately $2.5 billion, was generated through its advertising and software ventures.
Simo Assumed Leadership During Challenging Times at Instacart—And Successfully Revitalized the Company
In 2020, Instacart experienced a significant boost in sales, with a 330% increase due to the pandemic. However, when Simo assumed the role of CEO from cofounder Apoorva Mehta in August 2021, the company faced a slowdown in growth as people returned to in-person shopping.
Then, in 2022, the tech stock market faced a crash. Instacart, which had been on the brink of going public, had to delay its IPO and reduce its internal valuation from $39 billion in 2021 to $10 billion late the following year.
Simo has skillfully managed the company’s narrative surrounding its valuation, including identifying venture capitalists who invested early and reaped substantial rewards, as well as those who funded the company at its peak valuation and now face diminished returns. Shares acquired by Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz, each investing $50 million when Instacart was valued at $39 billion, have seen their value drop by approximately 75%.
SIMO Co-Founding Healthcare Institute and Nonprofit Initiatives
Simo, as a co-founder, is involved with the Metrodora Institute, a clinic and research facility with a $35 million budget. This institution, launched in March, focuses on treating women with neuroimmune axis disorders. These disorders encompass diseases like endometriosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, long COVID, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and others where the immune system appears to target the nervous system.
Her motivation to establish Metrodora stemmed from her personal experience with endometriosis during pregnancy and subsequently developing another chronic ailment, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). Both conditions are inadequately understood and might be interconnected.
Metrodora operates as a for-profit clinic and research center funded by private investors, including Simo herself. It gathers comprehensive patient data and samples with consent and shares them with partner labs at research institutions and biotech companies for potential curative research. While the specifics of agreements with these institutions vary, there is a possibility of Metrodora and its investors benefiting from future cures influenced by their work.
SIMO’S FAMILY LEGACY: A LINEAGE OF FISHERMEN
At the age of 37, Fidji Simo’s story begins in the charming seaside town of Sète, France. Born to a hardworking sardine fisherman and a boutique owner, her upbringing was imbued with the salt-kissed air of coastal living.
In a family rooted in tradition, Fidji emerged as a trailblazer, becoming the first member to graduate from college. Her journey was shaped by the unique fragrance of her mother’s choice – Guy Laroche’s “Fidji” perfume, a name that would become synonymous with her own.
Fidji’s life is a testament to the blend of resilience, determination, and the scent of coastal nostalgia that has fueled her path to success.