- Last week, the San Francisco-based firm named Rama Katkar as vice president of finance.
Online grocery platform Instacart has appointed former Facebook executive Asha Sharma as its Chief Operating Officer. Sharma joins the company later this month and will report directly to Instacart founder and Chief Executive Officer Apoorva Mehta. In her new role, Sharma will oversee the Instacart Marketplace, which includes the Instacart App, Instacart Logistics, Growth and Marketing, according to a company press release. She’ll also focus on engaging new and returning customers.
SuperMarket News reports that “Sharma’s hiring brings back the COO position at Instacart.” The San Francisco-based company had operated without a COO since August 2019 when Ravi Gupta, who also served as chief financial officer, stepped down from the role to join Sequoia Capital.
In a company press release, Mehta issued a statement welcoming Sharma. “Solving for the customer is at the core of everything we do at Instacart,” he said. “We believe that our long-term success will be driven by creating products that exceed customer expectations at every touch point,” he said. “To help achieve that, we’re welcoming an exceptional operator and entrepreneurial product leader in Asha Sharma to serve as our new Chief Operating Officer. Asha’s known for building strong teams in high growth environments and creating product experiences that are beloved by people around the world. I’m excited to welcome her to the team as we focus on unlocking more value for all the communities we serve.”
Similarly Sharma issued a statement on her appointment. “I’m passionate about working on products that have a real-world impact on people around the world,” she said. “I believe Instacart has only scratched the surface of what’s possible, and I look forward to working with Apoorva and the team as we focus on developing new experiences that deliver unparalleled value to customers.”
Sharma joins Instacart from Facebook, where she was vice president of Product for many of the company’s private communications products across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. During her time at Facebook, Sharma also previously served as vice president of Product for Messenger, and Head of Product for Social Impact.
She was previously COO of Porch, where she was responsible for the company’s operations, product, growth, and marketing efforts. Prior to joining Porch, Sharma worked as board director at the Virginia Mason Medical Center and in marketing and operations at Microsoft, her LinkedIn profile says. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.
SuperMarket News says Sharma is the second C-suite executive to join Instacart in recent weeks. Goldman Sachs veteran Nick Giovanni started at Instacart as chief financial officer on Jan. 27. He succeeded Sagar Sanghvi, who had taken over as CFO in August 2019 from Ravi Gupta.
Last week, the company also hired Rama Katkar as vice president of Finance. Katkar, who will lead the company’s finance team, with a focus on FP&A and strategic finance, will report directly to recently-appointed CFO Nick Giovanni.
Katkar comes to Instacart with more than 20 years of finance experience, including investing, strategic operations and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). She was most recently a senior vice president at Credit Karma, where she spent nearly six years leading corporate development, strategic finance and business operations.
North America’s largest third-party provider of online grocery services, Instacart partners with nearly 600 national, regional and local retailers, offering delivery and pickup from over 45,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities. Its services — also including delivery in retail sectors such as home goods, beauty care, convenience, off-price/closeout, office supplies, vitamins and supplements, pharmacy and consumer electronics — are available to 85 percent of U.S. households and 70 percent of Canadian households.
Last June, the company’s founder and CEO, Apoorva Mehta, 33, became the latest executive to join the billionaire list, after its value went up thanks to the exponential growth in online shopping because of Coronavirus lockdown. Mehta began the grocery delivery startup in 2012. Forbes said Mehta’s addition into the list comes after the San Francisco-based unicorn’s value rose from $7.9 billion to $13.7 billion. A unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion.
Forbes estimates that “Mehta owns a 10 percent stake, making him the newest member of the three comma club with a net worth of $1.2 billion.” Citing estimates from Instacart, Forbes reports that the company’s “order volume has gone up by as much as 500 percent in the past 12 months,” with the average customer spending unto 35 percent more per order.
Bhargavi Kulkarni has been a journalist for nearly two decades. She has a degree in English literature and French. She is also an adventure sport enthusiast, and in her free time, she likes to cook, bake, bike and hike.