Food is one of the hottest verticals for startups because, when it comes down to it, everyone needs to eat. Whether it’s UberEATS delivering your meals from your favourite restaurants or a grocery delivery service, so long as the startup gets the logistics down, it’s a crowded vertical constantly in-demand.
Toronto-based Instabuggy, a grocery delivery service, wants to be the go-to destination for any of its customers’ food-related needs. Starting out last year as a grocery delivery company promising delivery in under an hour, Instabuggy said that what separates it from competitors is its transparency. The company has partners in FreshCo, Summerhill Market, and Galati Market in Toronto. “When you go to other grocery delivery services, you don’t know where you’re getting your groceries from. They [competitors] offer groceries at a higher price than in-store prices, and you don’t know where these prices are coming from,” said Julian Gleizer, founder of Instabuggy.
“We can help retailers understand who their customers are and where their customer is coming from.”
The company has attracted the attention of grocery industry heavyweights like former Loblaws senior vice president Bill Binder, who is joining the company’s board of directors, and is expanding into Ottawa with Sobeys Urban Fresh and FreshCo. It’s also closed the round of a “massive” Series A, according to Gleizer, though he wouldn’t disclose a precise amount because of certain NDAs with investors. “We’re fully funded at the moment and scaling up. We are in overdrive mode, so we are also doing a lot of interesting things that not one player currently does,” Gleizer said.
With the funding, Instabuggy remains focused on its core product — delivering groceries from local marketplaces in under an hour — and is moving into the prepared-meal delivery space, which is currently hot in Toronto with services like Feast and Mealsurfers rising in popularity. “When you’re purchasing groceries, you’re purchasing ingredients by default. What happens is that a lot of people don’t like to cook or they don’t know how to cook, so it takes 45 minutes to an hour of their time. We realized a lot of customers have been asking for this feature,” said Gleizer.
Instabuggy’s grocery partners will have their in-store chefs — Summerhill Market, for its part, has 150 chefs working out of its store — prepare gourmet meals to be delivered to customers in under an hour. “We’ve partnered with stores we worked with, and in addition to one hour grocery delivery, we do meal delivery. It’s something I think we covered in terms of ensuring we service all verticals customers look for,” Gleizer said.
In the past, grocery stores saw companies like Instabuggy as disruptors and competitors, but nowadays, grocery stores are turning to startups for help in becoming more ecommerce friendly and gaining helpful data. Instabuggy is using this momentum to expand into the United States within the year.
“We can help retailers understand who their customers are, where their customer is coming from, what their purchasing and spending habits are, where they live and what their demographics are,” said Gleizer. “Before retailers didn’t have this opportunity — customers would walk in and walk out, and grocery stories would have no way of knowing where they live or if they’re coming back.”