Grocery delivery app Instacart announced that they have hired the head of Facebook’s app, Fiji Simo, as its new CEO, setting her up to be the first outsider to lead the startup last worth $ 39 billion.
It is an example of Facebook losing an important female leader and someone with color while the company tries to improve the diversity of its workplace.
Simo, 35, and originally from France, is among the highest-ranked female leaders on Facebook after COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Business Officer Marne Levine. Simo̵
Simo succeeds Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta on August 2. Mehta changes to chairman of the board.
Simo told CNBC in an interview this week how her decision to leave was handled by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Well, you know, it was not as you can imagine, it was not a one-time conversation,” she said. “It was over several weeks. And you know, the thing I deeply, deeply appreciate about Mark is that he’s been a follower from day one and really wanted to make sure he understood my motivation and what I wanted to do. with my life and what I was looking for. He has been incredibly supportive throughout the process. Obviously sad that we could not find something suitable for Facebook, but also incredibly supportive that I take on this role, which I always is grateful for. “
Simo joined Instacart’s board earlier this year as its first female member after Mehta reached out to her with a cold email.
“To be honest, the idea of someone else running the business had never even occurred to me,” Mehta told CNBC. “But I’ve been blown away by her abilities as a leader.”
Simo has been on Facebook since joining a product marketing role in 2011. She worked her way up by improving Facebook’s primary “blue” app, for which she has been responsible since March 2019, according to her LinkedIn profile. Simo played a key role in the company’s initiatives to bring more video content to the Facebook app by e.g. Automatic video playback, live streaming and the Facebook Watch video streaming product.
After spending “hundreds of hours” with Simo, Mehta said, “what became clear to me was that we both shared a truly ambitious vision for Instacart.”
Simo said she wants to build Instacart into an “incredible consumer app.”
“An app that people like to open many times a week to be inspired by food content, and then buy our groceries online,” she said. In addition to delivering food, Simo said she will embrace Instacart’s growing advertising and corporate businesses.
Simo also said she sees parallels to what she has done on Facebook.
“We saw the emergence of many new businesses built on top of Facebook ads,” she said. “And I see the same thing happening in Instacart’s business, where not only do existing food companies reach new customers, but I see new food companies that have the potential to be created.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Instacart has become one of the most valuable private companies in the US Since the beginning of 2020, its valuation has almost quadrupled to $ 39 billion, making it the third largest US-based private startup behind fintech giants Stripe and Elon Musk’s SpaceX according to Pitchbook.