While there aren’t many VR hardware startups raising cash out there these days, there are far fewer that are securing investments to actually build the VR headsets themselves.
Even as established tech giants are having a rough go-ahead with the headset market, Beijing-based Pico Interactive is looking to give it a go with a focus on standalone VR headset hardware that can keep up with the innovations of larger firms.
Pico has closed a $24.7 million Series A led by GF Qianhe and GF Xinde Investment, with participation from Jufeng S&T Venture Investment and others, the company said in an announcement. This is the startup’s first bout of outside funding since its founding in 2015.
VR hardware had plenty of entrants around Pico’s founding, but as Oculus competitors were forced to slash prices to keep up with aggressive pricing, margins disappeared, leaving relatively scant space for startups. Pico has made its bet on moving past PC or console-based systems and focusing strongly on self-contained standalone headset options.
Coinciding with the funding announcement, Pico also offered details on a new standalone headset being released in China. Called the Pico G2, it’s an updated version of the Pico Goblin that is built on Qualcomm’s 835 chipset. The company’s hardware runs on HTC’s Vive Wave VR platform.
The company also says that it is planning to release its own augmented reality hardware in 2019.
Square is launching a new piece of hardware today — the Square Terminal.
As explained to me by the company’s Head of Hardware Jesse Dorogusker, the Terminal fills a gap the company’s product lineup — unlike the basic card reader, it provides an all-in-one hardware experience (no phone or tablet required), but more affordable than the Square Register.
Dorogusker suggested that it’s really designed to replace the “outdated” credit card terminals that you’ll encounter in all kinds of stores (like the gray block that sits on the counter of my local bodega). He argued that these terminals often come with onerous contracts for the business owner, and they’re not a great experience for consumers, either.
The new Terminal, on the other hand, provides a more Square -like experience. For one thing, it works with WiFi and is powered by an all-day battery, so it can be carried around the store and handed over to customers.
“One of the really fun things we realized about this product is that in addition to having Square Payments built-in, it unlocks people to use it in new ways,” Dorogusker said.
For example, he said the beta testers included a restaurant that can now process payments at the customer’s table, a salon that allows customers to pay while they’re still in their chair and a plastic surgeon whose patients can go through the bill while in the privacy of the treatment room.
Dorogusker acknowledged that restaurants in some countries are already bringing wireless card terminals to customers’ tables, but he said that they don’t have the other advantages of a Square Terminal, like a display that allows you to see the price of every item you’re buying. Plus, there’s the ability to accept payments from smartphones and other devices through Apple Pay and Google Pay, and there’s Square’s two-second processing time for chip cards.
Square Terminal costs $399. Businesses that are new to Square and that order now will also receive a $300 processing credit. With or without the credit, Square will process those payments on the same simple terms it offers to everyone else — 2.6 percent, plus 10 cents for each transaction.
Nozomi Networks has secured $30 million in Series C funding.
The San Francisco, Calif.-based touts itself as an industrial security giant, securing more than 300,000 industrial devices over a range of industries, like manufacturing, energy, and mining, with hundreds of hydroelectric and gas distribution facilities on its roster.
It’s the second round of funding this year, following a $15 million round in January, putting the company’s valuation at about $150 million.
The company said the $30 million — led by Planven Investments, GGV Capital, Lux Capital, Energize Ventures and THI Investments — will put it in a better position to sell its services and enter new markets.
“We want to continue to invest in the product and R&D, but because we’re doing so well what we want to focus the investments on awareness, sales, reach and technical support so that we can reach more customers and sell more products so that our technology can reach a lot more people,” Nozomi’s chief executive Edgard Capdevielle told TechCrunch in a call.
This year alone, the company has expanded its global footprint in an effort to tap into major economic markets, like Canada, the UK and Germany.
The funding can’t come at a more critical time for the company. Industrial control systems (ICS) run and automate all kinds of critical infrastructure, like power grids and transportation, but the threat to ICS systems has become greater in recent years as more systems have been hooked up to the internet — even if the number of confirmed attacks have been low.
Nozomi, like a handful of other companies in the industrial control system security space, work to secure ICS devices by detecting threats before they hit. The company’s main focus is on passive detection of threats and anomalies which combines behavior-based and signature-based approaches, but also offers an active detection offering which allows operators to detect and monitor specific threats.
Capdevielle said its new funding puts it in a better place than ever to respond to what he sees as a growing need for ICS security.
DHS and FBI detail how Russia is hacking into U.S. nuclear facilities and other critical infrastructure
Spinnaker is an open source continuous delivery (CD) platform from Netflix and Google, though it now also has the backing of other major software companies. Spinnaker 1.0 launched last July, so it’s not the newest kid on the block, but the service is slowly but surely gaining momentum now, with users that include Target, Adobe, Daimler and Capital One, as well as a growing ecosystem of vendors who support it.
Today, after a few years of working on the project without any formal structure in place, the Spinnaker project announced that it is growing up and putting a formal governance system in place at the project’s second community summit in Seattle this week.
Like Kubernetes, which has become the de facto standard for container orchestration tools, Spinnaker could become the same kind of standard for continuous delivery. That space, though, already has plenty of incumbents and established players, so chances are this will be a bit more of an uphill battle. Spinnaker and Kubernetes make for a pretty obvious pairing, though, so there’s now also plenty of Kubernetes startups that are looking at how they can best combine the two.
What’s most important in the short run, though, is that Spinnaker is now getting a formal governance structure whereas before, it was basically run as a GitHub project with a benevolent dictator in place.
“That’s something that the community’s been looking for in terms of how do people get a seat at the table,” Netflix’s Director of Delivery Engineering Andy Glover, who oversaw the development of Spinnaker, told me. “The project has largely been run by Netflix and Google. We’ve taken any questions from the community and big companies, whether they be Cisco or Target, about trying to figure out ‘what’s the deal here?’ How do we how do we reduce risk, how do we guard ourselves from Netflix closed-sourcing it or Google’s deciding to license it or something like that.”
So going forward, the project will have a technical steering committee and a steering committee. For now, those committees are staffed with Netflix and Google engineers, but the plan is to open it up to third parties as well. The new governance policy also outlines how developers can start committing code to the project.
In the early days, having Glover and others shepherd the project informally was just fine. Now that the community is growing, though, and more large companies are starting to use Spinnaker, Glover admits that to scale the project, others have to step in. “At Netflix, we tend to do a lot of experimentation without worrying too much up front,” he told me. “Let’s just run fast and see what happens. And with respect to Spinnaker, that was very much run the same way. We said we’d cross that bridge when we get to it and obviously, we got to that bridge a little while ago.”
One thing a lot of people have been wondering about is whether Spinnaker will eventually land at any of the major open source foundations like the Linux Foundation, the OpenStack Foundation or the Apache Foundation. Glover noted that this move is meant to set the stage for that.
Boris Renski, the founder of Mirants, which has recently made a major bet on Spinnaker, tells me that this new governance policy is very much needed (and he’d prefer the project to land with the OpenStack Foundation). He told me that today’s Spinnaker, without formal governance in place, isn’t always the most community-friendly place to be.
“Spinnaker has all the chances to become the de facto continuous delivery tool,” he told me. Putting the governance in place is only a first step, though, Renski actually believes that one of the challenges for the project is the fact that Kubernetes is already putting many of the CD tools for its community in place. Kubernetes, he argues, is suffering from “an OpenStack syndrome” where it has “its fingers in everything” (though to be fair, OpenStack has paired its efforts back quite a bit in recent years). That, he thinks, is not a healthy dynamic and he believes that more specialized tools are the way to go. But Kubernetes is the hot new thing right now and developers are gravitating to it. Yet CD solutions that only cater to Kubernetes discount that most enterprises will want to be able to deploy to other targets, too. Spinnaker, he argues, should be a friend to Kubernetes developers but still remain flexible enough to work for everybody.
He also noted that one problem with today’s Spinnaker community is that it’s mostly driven by users who are trying to solve a near-term tactical problem. “Those users don’t have time and bandwidth to solve longer-term, community-type problems,” he said. What the project still needs in his view is real “pluggability,” that is, the ability to extend Spinnaker and more easily integrate it with third-party systems.
Google, Microsoft and Amazon now back the project and it runs on their clouds. Pivotal, too, recently announced increased support for it and so are many other players in the continuous integration and delivery ecosystem. Pete Erickson, who organized this week’s Spinnaker Summit, told me that he’s expecting about 400 participants from 16 countries and 275 companies at the event. And Glover also noted that about 30 percent of attendees are new to Spinnaker and are simply attending to learn about it and how to bring it to their companies.
Fast-growing Chinese media startup ByteDance is looking to raise as much as $3 billion to continue growth for its empire of mobile-based entertainment apps, which include news aggregator Toutiao and video platform Tiktok.
The Beijing-based startup is in early-stage talks with investors to raise $2.5 billion to $3 billion, according to a source with knowledge of the plans. That investment round could value ByteDance as high as $75 billion, although the source stressed that the valuation is a target and it might not be reached.
ByteDance declined to comment.
It’s audacious, but if that lofty goal is reached then ByteDance would become the world’s highest-valued startup ahead of the likes of Didi Chuxing ($56 billion) and Uber ($62 billion). Only Ant Financial has raised at a higher valuation, but the company is an affiliate of Alibaba and therefore not your average ‘startup.’
The Wall Street Journal first broke news of the ByteDance investment plan.
But there’s more: Earlier this week, the Financial Times cited sources who indicate that ByteDance is keen to go public in Hong Kong with an IPO slated to happen next year.
ByteDance is best-known for Toutiao, its news aggregator app that claims 120 million daily users, while it also operates a short-video platform called Douyin. The latter is known as TikTok overseas and it counts 500 million active users. TikTok recently merged with Musical.ly, the app that’s popular in the U.S. and was acquired by ByteDance for $1 billion, in an effort aimed at combining both userbases to create an app with global popularity.
The firm also operates international versions of Toutiao, including TopBuzz and NewsRepublic while it is an investor in streaming app Live.me.
The company’s growth has been mercurial but it has also come with problems as the company entered China’s tech spotlight and became a truly mainstream service in China.
ByteDance had its knuckles rapped by authorities at the beginning of the year after it was deemed to have inadequately policed content on its platform. Then in April, its ‘Neihan Duanzi’ joke app was shuttered following a government order while Toutiao was temporarily removed from app stores. It returns days later after the company had grown its content team to 10,000 staff and admitted that some content it had hosted “did not accord with core socialist values and was not a good guide for public opinion.”
Ambitious new media firm ByteDance is no longer a secret outside of China
Developers and hipsters, it’s time to join together and ditch your web browser to read this article. Kosuke Yoshimura developed a fun little project and shared it on Product Hunt today. TechCrunch-CLI is a command line interface that lets you read TechCrunch articles in text mode.
As my colleague Devin Coldewey suggested, TextCrunch would also be a good alternative name for this project.
I played around with it and I have to say that there’s something fascinating about reading in my terminal window the article I just published.
If you want to install it on your computer, it’s a simple NPM package on GitHub. If you have a Mac, you can install Node.js and NPM using Homebrew. Or you can spin up a Node.js image on any virtual private server platform out there if you just want to play with it for a few minutes.
By default, the command “$ tc top” loads up the most recent articles. It’s a scrollable list so you can go back quite far in the past with the up/down arrows. When you press enter, you get a text view of the article — links are included in brackets. Sadly, illustrations aren’t magically converted into ASCII art.
You can also type a tag using “$ tc tag <searchTerms…>” to load the most recent articles on a specific topic.
I have to say that reading articles in such a minimalist way is refreshing. Arguably, TechCrunch isn’t the worst website out there. But the web has become too cluttered and you end up loading one bloated web page after another. So if you want to go back to text browsers, here’s your chance.
Augmented reality technology enables us to see things in places where they may not actually exist. And sometimes, that paradigm might also apply to augmented reality startups themselves. Meta, the AR startup that was incubated at Y Combinator and became the first to ship a set of “end-to-end” AR glasses (including hardware, software, direct tracking optics and SDK) to the market, raising a lot of money and high hopes in the process, crashed into insolvency recently as it ran out of money to fund the costly business of building hardware as well as options to raise more. Now it looks like there is another chapter.
Meron Gribetz, Meta’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch in an interview earlier today that the company’s assets have been acquired by a mystery buyer. The buyer’s name and even its industry are not being disclosed, said Gribetz, except he did hint that it is a “known name” that might be revealed soon.
(We’ve asked a number of investors in the company if they know more and it seems none so far do. Even the lead at the agency that has been handling Meta’s PR — Spiralgroup, which specialises in crisis communications and other tricky situations — described the buyer’s name as a “black box,” no information whatsoever.)
There is only one firm detail on the future that Gribetz said he could share. The new buyer, he said, has already committed to supporting hardware that is already out on the market, but with little specific information on what will come next. “Our assets have a good future, and I’m encouraged by that fact,” he said. He added that about 85-90 percent of the company’s inventory of its latest (last) model, the Meta 2, had sold.
Otherwise, all Gribetz could say was that it was an asset sale, for “less than the bank was owed,” in reference to the company’s debts.
Among the other details that are unclear are whether Meta talent will be joining the new owner. It sounds like that, at least, is still under negotiation for some of them — Gribetz included — which implies there are plans for using the IP and other assets the buyer has acquired, either on their own or in combination with other IP. (Notably, one of the assets that was acquired was the Meta brand, although that could easily have been also to protect it from being used by others.)
These latest developments cap off a hectic several months for Meta.
After a scrappy start — I first met the company at CES in Las Vegas years ago, when five engineers and Gribetz all slept in one hotel room that was also where they showed off product demos — the company landed in the elite Y Combinator incubator and started to attract the attention of big investors, and eventually became the first company to ship a complete AR solution, including hardware and software to make it work. That led to more investment and ambitions to target China.
But the Meta 2, the second version of its eyewear, was to be its last. The Silicon Valley startup fell onto hard times in September 2018 after a fundraise of $20 million, critical to its survival, which it had secured from an unnamed Chinese investor, was blocked by China over trade tensions between it and the U.S. Around that time, the company laid off a number of staff, and those remaining were furloughed in hopes of better times ahead.
That didn’t turn out to be the case. Gribetz told TechCrunch that in subsequent months, he’d received small investments from individuals to help temporarily pay some of the employees who were still with the company, but “no one stepped in” to definitely close the funding gap. “Maybe it was the furlough that scared them off,” he said.
In the meantime, things got even tougher. Meta was served with patent suits — which may still follow the IP wherever it goes (although it’s not clear at all yet whether the suits are legit or without merit). And that seemed to be the final straw that led to the insolvency and subsequent asset sale.
There is a lot of potential speculation about who might be interested in Meta’s assets, and why the buyer is keeping quiet.
If it’s a big company, that makes it an obvious target for a patent litigation chaser. If it’s a company from a country like China, it could raise questions and cause problems given the current climate and trade tensions. If it’s interested in AR in a public way, it doesn’t want to reveal its hand. If it’s trying to prepare an entry into the market, it wouldn’t want to be known, either. If it’s a completely new entrant to AR, it may not want anyone to pre-judge based on Meta’s failure.
Meta had raised nearly $83 million, reaching a valuation of as much as $300 million, with investors including strategics like hardware giant Lenovo, internet giant Tencent, Dolby, Comcast and some 24 others (a mix of VCs and individuals). Those strategics also might be considered buyers — although so far we’ve confirmed that at least one, Lenovo, is not it.
Whoever has made the purchase, two words of advice: caveat emptor.
Although AR and VR startups reached a high watermark of $3 billion in funding in 2017, and for all the promise of various companies in the field, the bigger picture for AR and its sister technology, virtual reality, has not been as bright in more recent times.
Gribetz said he believes that one day every company will be an AR company, but for now, we are far from that. Headsets and glasses — a primary component of many services — are still clunky, we haven’t seen the “killer app” yet that will bring a mass market running to buy products and it’s not even clear that there may ever be. If you think of how much of the AR content you get already comes by way of your smartphone, then it may turn out just to be an additional feature, not a major step change after all.
All of that is leading to many AR and VR efforts feeling the pinch. Some, like ODG and Blippar, have collapsed entirely. Others like Magic Leap have failed to live up to their impossible hype. And others are rethinking their strategies for the longer haul, shelving some of their ambitions in the process.
In that context, Gribetz is even a little sanguine about Meta’s crash landing.
“It’s a bittersweet happiness,” he said when asked about how he feels about the sale. “This is not the way I would have wanted things to precipitate, obviously. On the other hand, when I look at the competitive landscape and the companies that are completely flaming out — and there are a lot — and their products disappear from the world never to be seen again, I can only express my personal hopes, because Meta is now inside of a new home — and it’s a good home — I can only express my hopes that these products have a future.”
The price of competing with e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com is immense. That’s evidenced by challenger Pinduoduo, commonly known as PDD, which is raising more than $1 billion in fresh capital just six months after it went public.
The company announced plans to sell 37 million shares in a move that will raise more than $1 billion, going potentially as high as $1.25 billion if underwriters exercise their full share purchase option. The secondary event will also see a number of existing backers sell a portion of their stock, those sellers including Sequoia China, Lightspeed China and Banyan, according to a filing.
PDD went public in July when it raised $1.6 billion through a Nasdaq listing.
Founded in September 2015 by ex-Googler Colin Huang, it adds a social twist to e-commerce by offering discounts for shoppers who gang up with friends or family to make group orders. That’s resonated in particular with consumers, who tend to be female, the company said. PDD claims 385.5 million active buyers with an annual GMV of RMB 344.8 billion, or $250.2 billion, as of Q3 2018.
That’s helped it make a dent in China’s e-commerce market, which is dominated by Tencent and Alibaba, although it has come at some cost. PDD isn’t profitable, and it isn’t likely to be for some time. Since going public, it has recorded net losses of RMB 6.49 billion ($981.4 million) in Q2 and RMB 1.10 billion ($159.9 million) in Q4.
Yes, there has been heady growth; revenue in Q4 surged by 697 percent year-on-year to reach RMB 3.37 billion ($491.0 million), but the corresponding operating loss increased five-fold.
The incredible rise of Pinduoduo, China’s newest force in e-commerce
Huang has described his business as a combination of Costco and Disney, which signifies “value-for-money and entertainment combined.” In a letter to shareholders, he emphasized that his vision will require a decade before it begins to reach its potential.
“It is not easy to take the leap of faith believing in such an unconventional company, which strives to meet both economic and social needs of users, and to make a positive impact to the society. The pursuit and focus of our long-term vision and intrinsic value may not always translate into near-term profits. Instead, we hope to show you the true colors of our company no matter how bumpy or rough the numbers may seem to be. We ask you to ride the journey with us for the long term. We believe it will be wonderful,” he wrote.
Update: This post has been updated to reflect that BlackRock’s votes were cast in the last shareholder meeting.
The world’s largest investor joined the chorus of voices pushing for a separation of powers at the electric vehicle, solar panel and battery manufacturer, Tesla, during the last shareholder vote at the company, Reuters reported earlier today.
Funds managed by BlackRock, a top 10 shareholder in the electric vehicle company run by Elon Musk (and the manager of roughly $6.3 trillion in global assets), joined calls for the creation of an independent chairman position at Tesla.
The shareholder initiative, which was solidly defeated, would not have affected Musk’s standing as chief executive.
News of BlackRock’s votes comes as a new article in The Wall Street Journal further underscores the autocratic ways in which Musk manages his electric vehicle startup, and highlights the singular grip Musk has on his companies and the public’s perception of them.
Elon Musk losing his temper and firing people on the spot is one of those anecdotes I’ve heard over and over again and never been able to stand up. Kudos to WSJ for nailing it down. https://t.co/vRYFtRM3UL pic.twitter.com/fTCc2zbtOq
— Julia Carrie Wong (@juliacarriew) August 31, 2018
While the technology industry is famously known for catering to the whims of authoritarian executives, Musk’s recent behavior on social media, with the press and in private has damaged the company’s stock price and caused some concern even within his own boardroom.
Diver attacked by Elon Musk as ‘pedo guy’ is prepping a libel suit
Warren Buffett has even weighed in on Musk’s social media use.
"I don't think it's helped him a lot," Warren Buffett says of Elon Musk's Twitter account. "I just think there's other things in life I want to do other than tweet." pic.twitter.com/EsIuysUBIQ
— CNBC (@CNBC) August 30, 2018
In an emailed statement to Reuters, which first noticed the filing, a BlackRock spokesperson said:
BlackRock’s approach to investment stewardship is driven by our fiduciary duties to our clients, the asset owners. Our approach to engaging with companies and proxy voting activities is consistent with our commitment to drive long term shareholder value for our clients.
Musk has had a particularly rough August since he first floated on Twitter, and then rescinded, a plan to take Tesla private.
Elon Musk: Tesla will remain a public company
Tesla shares are down roughly 1% in midday trading on the Nasdaq.
Messaging app firm Line has confirmed it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange called BitBox next month.
The company said back in January that it planned to enter the crypto space with an exchange, but today it said that the BitBox service won’t be available for users in the U.S. and Japan — that’s presumably down to regulatory uncertainty.
What it will include, however, is support for trading 30 tokens — Line is only revealing big names like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin so far — and a 0.1 percent trading fee. Line said it has picked the tokens following “an extensive screening process” which saw an internal commitment asses what on the market represents “the most reliable and safest trading [options] for users.”
Bitbox will be available worldwide and in 15 languages. It isn’t yet clear whether it will include an option to buy or sell tokens using fiat — a key ramp to getting new money into crypto — or whether this will just be token-to-token trading. Update: Line confirmed that BitBox will not handle fiat, the exchange will cover token-to-token trading only
Line has around 200 million monthly active users and it has expanded into adjacent services such as taxis on-demand, music streaming, mobile payment and more, so this foray could represent a step towards accepting crypto for its other services in the future. But the exclusion of U.S. and Japan-based users is a major caveat.
Japan is Line’s largest market for revenue and users, so by excluding the country, it is severely limiting the potential impact that Bitbox can have.
Nonetheless, the company is need of something fresh to revitalize its business in the wake of increasing competition from Facebook, which operates WhatsApp and Messenger, the world’s most popular messaging apps with over one billion monthly users each.
Prior its $1.1 billion U.S.-Japan IPO in 2016, Line had targeted a global audience via its messaging service — which pioneered the concept of stickers — and a connected games business. Its international expansion didn’t go according to plan, however, and the company refocused efforts on its four core markets of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia, which account for 168 million of its active users.
In those markets, it offers a range of localized services that include video streaming, manga cartoons, shopping, ride-hailing and other on-demand services. Last year, it began to sell smart hardware and AI to offer its own cartoony alternative to Amazon’s Echo range and Google Home devices. In some markets, it also offers a Line-branded mobile phone/data service.
There’s plenty of pressure, however. Facebook’s global popularity makes Messenger an option for most internet users on the planet while the company is busy in other areas. WhatsApp recently moved into business solutions that allow companies to correspond with users via its service, and it is tipped to add payments soon. CEO Mark Zuckerberg pledged to look into whether Facebook can make use of blockchain technology and earlier this year he set up a dedicated division that is headed by David Marcus, the ex-lead for Messenger and former CEO of PayPal.
Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.
Toward the end of 2017, Instacart penned a partnership with one of the country’s biggest grocery retailers, Kroger. At the time, it was a smaller deal with one of Kroger’s chains called Ralphs.
But today Instacart is expanding its partnership with Kroger, bringing Instacart delivery to 75 additional Kroger markets, growing Instacart’s Kroger footprint by 50 percent nationwide. The expansion will be completed by late October, bringing Instacart delivery to more than 1,600 Kroger stores.
This builds on Instacart’s momentum, following partnership deals with chains like Albertsons, Aldi, Sam’s Club, and Loblaw.
In all, Instacart is now available to 70 percent of all households across the country. Last year, the company announced its goal to reach 80 percent of U.S. households by the end of 2018, and its most recent funding round seems to be propelling the startup to achieve that goal.
In February, Instacart raised $200 million led by Coatue Management, as well as Glade Brook Capital Partners and existing investors. The round valued Instacart at $4.2 billion.
Since Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, Instacart has been put in a challenging position. But, in many ways, that challenge has represented opportunity. The nearly $14 billion acquisition has spurred an even more rapid evolution of the grocery industry, leaving incumbents with a choice: Acquire (or build) your own delivery platform or partner with Instacart to compete with online grocery purchase and delivery from Amazon.
Some retailers, like Target, have chosen to purchase their own platform. But other big players, such as Albertsons and Sam’s Club, seem to have been motivated by the Whole Foods deal to partner up with Instacart.
This has grown Instacart’s marketplace to feature more than 300 different retail partners on the platform, which has in turn helped grow Instacart’s community of shoppers, which has topped 50,000 this year.
As this growth continues, a great deal is dependent on Instacart’s ability to maintain the quality of the product. But the company is also taking steps toward shoring up the platform. Instacart has begun testing a partnership with Postmates to help make deliveries during peak hours in San Francisco.
Editors Note: An earlier version of this post had a headline that said Instacart now serves 70 percent of U.S. households. It has been updated to reflect that Instacart is available to 70 percent of U.S. households.