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Chris Bryson, CEO, Unata

Lazaridis Institute Scale-Up Program company, Unata, acquired by Instacart

Lazaridis Institute Scale-Up Program company, Unata, was acquired in early January 2018 by Instacart – a U.S. same-day grocery delivery service for stores like Whole Foods Market, Target, Costco and Petco.

Unata began the Lazaridis Scale-Up Program in October 2017.  Based in Toronto, Unata is a leading provider of digital solutions to grocery retailers. Its online grocery platform enables both grocers and consumers to interact digitally, allowing grocers to create apps and websites for consumers to plan their shopping lists and/or order their groceries online. Unata will keep its headquarters in Toronto with its current CEO Chris Bryson, and will operate as an independent subsidiary of Instacart.

“Unata and Instacart have long shared a vision of innovating the grocery industry and building the online grocery shopping experience of the future,” said Bryson in a press release. “By combining the power of our teams and technologies, we can achieve this vision faster and for the first time ever offer a fully comprehensive, configurable digital solution for grocery retailers of all sizes.”

According to a recent report completed by Unata and ShopperKit on more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, 36 per cent said they would likely to shop for groceries online in 2018 – an anticipated growth of 22 per cent over 2017 figures. Of those who did not shop online with their grocer, more than 50 per cent said it was because their grocer did not offer online shopping. A report published by Kantar Worldpanel claims online grocery sales reached $48 billion – or 4.4 per cent of the grocery market – from 2015 to 2016 and is expected to reach nine per cent or $150 billion by 2025, worldwide.

Supporting this trend, it was recently reported that Target had acquired its own grocery delivery service. In June 2017, Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion as reported by Bloomberg.

“The goal of the Scale-Up Program and the Lazaridis Institute is to help Canadian tech founders succeed,” said Managing Director of the Lazaridis Institute and Lazaridis Professor in Executive Development, Kim Morouney. “The value Unata has created—and will continue to create—is significant. The fact that their HQ will remain in Toronto means that jobs remain in Toronto. This is a win for Unata, and a win for Canada.”

Founded in 2011, Unata has received investments from MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, Mantella Venture Partners, Aimia, Kitchener-Waterloo’s Golden Triangle Angel Network, and individual investors.

The Lazaridis Institute for the Management of Technology Enterprises is based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, within Wilfrid Laurier University’s prestigious Lazaridis School of Business & Economics.  The Institute aims to increase national prosperity by making Canadian tech entrepreneurs globally competitive.  The second cohort of companies, including Unata, began the Scale-Up Program in October 2017. Applications will open in March for the third cohort of Canada’s most promising tech firms looking to scale globally.

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