Grocery Delivery Service Instacart Launches in Austin

Instacart ipad-screenshotHow many times have you sat around wondering if you could get someone to deliver your groceries in one hour by horse in Austin?

Well today is your lucky day if you’re downtown. Instacart, a San Francisco-based grocery delivery service, will be doing that today in downtown Austin. But the horse delivery is just for one day as a special way to introduce the service to the market.

The one-hour guaranteed delivery service launched Wednesday in Austin. It allows customers to order items from Royal Blue Grocery and H-E-B and have them delivered in an hour or less. Instacart plans to add other stores in the coming weeks.

Instacart charges $14.99 for one-hour delivery or $3.99 for two-hour delivery with a minimum order of $10.

Instacart, which is available in nine other cities, faces competition in the Austin market by Burpy, a Longhorn Startup company. Burpy offers grocery delivery in the Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas markets.

Instacart, which raised $8.5 million last year, is available in San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Jose, Seattle and Washington, DC.

Instacart touts its “crowdsourced labor force dubbed personal shoppers” who use their own cars for delivery which makes grocery delivery more affordable since the company doesn’t need inventory, warehouses, trucks and full-time drivers.

“Austin is the fastest-growing city in the U.S., with a young, tech-savvy culture and a major university downtown,” Apoorva Mehta, Instacart founder, said in a news release. “Those are all factors that we look for in an expansion city. We think Austinites will really appreciate the convenience factor of Instacart, and we’re working hard to establish relationships not just with the big chains, but also the local merchants such as Royal Blue Grocery who add so much to the local Austin community.”

Instacart will initially deliver to downtown neighborhoods. It also offers a subscription-based delivery service for $99 for free delivery on all orders of $35 or more.

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