The pandemic has devastated wide swaths of the U.S. economy, causing more than 22 million job losses and about 25 percent of small businesses to close, many of them for good. But some companies have thrived amid this catastrophe—indeed, thrived because of it. Instacart, the grocery delivery service, is booming, with sales up 500 percent year-over-year and the company cruising to a $17.7 billion valuation. Their workforce—of mostly low-paid contract workers—has swelled to 500,000 people while the company has taken in $500 million in investment since March.
And yet, somehow, Instacart is also losing unimaginable sums of money. According to The Wall Street Journal, in eight years of business, Instacart has had one month of profitability, in April 2020. That’s after raising $2.4 billion in total investment capital. And now, to add to their problems, supermarkets reportedly are tiring of Instacart’s high fees (usually more than 10 percent per order). “We don’t think we make money from an Instacart order,” Mark Skogen, CEO of Skogen’s Foodliner Inc., told the Journal.
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