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Whole Foods invests in Instacart at 2014 valuation

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Whole Foods
Whole Foods

Whole Foods are investing in the grocery delivery company Instacart.

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — As more Whole Foods customers began to avoid the store and get their deliveries to their front door, the high-end supermarket chain is taking a stake in the four-year-old startup.

The company authorized the sale of new equity earlier this year, letting Whole Foods Market Inc. buy shares in the startup in conjunction with an expanded partnership, said people familiar with the transaction, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Analysis by private stock market operator Equidate, based on a regulatory filing, pegged the total equity authorization at about $36 million.

The shares added to Instacart’s previous funding round at the same share price from late 2014, which valued the company at about $2 billion, according to the filing.

Before the Whole Foods investment, the San Francisco-based startup had raised more than $270 million. Instacart and its peers have benefited from a shift in an overcrowded food delivery market this year. Grocery delivery startups have received more investor dollars than companies that deliver prepared meals, a reversal from previous years, according to research firm CB Insights.

However, as the fundraising market becomes more competitive overall, startups are making cuts and emphasizing how close they are to supporting themselves with their own earnings. Instacart is no exception: Apoorva Mehta, the startup’s chief executive officer, said on stage this month at a TechCrunch conference that his company will be cash-flow positive in the next 12 months. He also dismissed questions about whether Instacart would sell to Whole Foods. “It just doesn’t make sense for us to even think about selling to a grocery store,” Mehta said.

Whole Foods and Instacart first partnered services on a delivery program in 2014 and has since expanded to more than 25 markets across the U.S. It allows customers to order food and other products directly from the Whole Foods website and have them delivered.

Grocery delivery is a key initiative as Whole Foods tries to claw its way out of its biggest sales slump since 2009. As conventional grocers have expanded their organic offerings and pushed prices down, Whole Foods has suffered under the weight of its reputation for being overpriced. That’s added pressure on the grocer to make its shopping experience more convenient.

“With more outlets for natural and organic foods, they don’t drive as far, and they don’t come as frequently,” John Mackey, the co-CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods, said during a presentation in June. “They just want convenience as the overriding value. I think that Whole Foods wants to compete for those customers to be sure, and we have a lot of things in the works.”

Walter Robb, the other CEO, said on a recent earnings call: “We feel really good about the partnership with Instacart and the results we’re seeing.”

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on diversifying TV station ownership

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WASHINGTON (Diya TV) —    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says he’s aware the incentive auction nearly wiped out TV stations owned by women & minorities. How he’s addressing the issue, plus the on-going battle over net neutrality, robocalls & his evolution from staffer to Commissioner to Chair on an all-new The Public Interest with Ravi Kapur, Sunday at 9 am & 5pm exclusively on DiyaTV!

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Elon Musk says Tesla plans to be in India by 2020

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —   India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, just helped his brother Anil out of a major jam, despite their past differences. Anil’s Reliance Communications owed $77 million to Ericsson and he faced jail for non-payment. But in a statement, the company announced the debt was addressed, implying older brother Mukesh had taken care of the bill.

India’s second-richest man, Azim Premji, is making news of own by giving billions to charity in what is thought to be largest donation ever seen in India.

The tech tycoon has now allocated a total of $21 billion to the Azim Premji Foundation.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted he wants to bring their electric cars to India this year or by 2020. He has blamed tough policies for delaying the carmaker’s entry into India in the past. India is the world’s fourth largest automobile market.

Adding to the pacts they’ve struck over the last three years, India and the United States are close to finalizing a new deal to deepen defense industry collaboration.

And representatives from six social media platforms met with Indian election officials, holding discussions on ways to tackle fake news and authenticate political ads in advance of elections there next month.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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Veteran tech executive Raghu Rau named TiVo interim CEO

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Veteran tech executive, Raghu Rau named interim CEO of TiVo

SAN JOSE, Calif. – (Diya TV) Raghu Rau, a veteran executive and board member of TiVo is named interim CEO and President of TiVo Corporation. He replaces Enrique Rodriguez, who resigned only 8 months into his stint as TiVo CEO to become Liberty Systems CTO in Europe. Rodriguez took on the helm at TiVo in November of last year, succeeding longtime President & CEO, Thomas Carson. He previously held executive positions at AT&T, Sirius XM, Microsoft’s Xbox and Cisco Systems.

Rau has served on the TiVo Board since 2015 and brings decades of leadership experience from helming video software vendor SeaChange International. Previously, Rau held multiple senior management positions at Motorola Inc. Since August 2017, he also serves as the Chairman of the Board for Quantum, a storage, archive and data protection vendor.

TiVo shares over the past year have dropped nearly 37% as the TV pioneer tries to adjust direction in the evolving video & media landscape.

Rodriguez will remain a part of TiVo’s board during the transition. In a statement Rodriguez said, “My personal decision to pursue another opportunity was not easy. I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead for TiVo as I expect our performance through the second quarter of 2018, including our announced profit improvement actions, to be ahead of our internal plan. I am looking forward to continue my relationship with TiVo in my new role as a customer and partner. Until then, I am committed to working with the TiVo team to ensure a seamless transition.”

Chairman of TiVo’s Board of Directors, James Meyer remarked, “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Enrique for his leadership and we wish him the best in his next chapter. We are fortunate to have a world-class leadership team in place and are pleased to have someone of Raghu’s caliber step in to lead the Company. He has been a member of the TiVo Board of Directors since 2015 and is a proven leader with extensive experience in the video industry and in the management of intellectual property. I am confident that Raghu, alongside the rest of the leadership team, will continue to drive the value that TiVo’s innovative technology portfolio brings to the fast-growing and hyper-competitive entertainment industry.”

Rau is happy to take on the challenge, saying “this is an exciting time for TiVo and I am eager to jump in as interim President and Chief Executive Officer. I look forward to working closely with our outstanding management team as we continue to innovate, profitably grow our customer base in key market segments, and expand our international presence. I also look forward to working with the Special Committee of the Board to bring our strategic alternatives process to a successful, value creating solution for our shareholders.”

Rovi acquired TiVo for $1.1 billion in 2016 and took on the DVR company’s name.

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