San Francisco, CA — Instacart, Inc. is buying Unata Inc., a coupon and voice-shopping startup based in Toronto, Canada.
The deal gives Instacart — the grocery-delivery company that partners with local stores to offer same-day deliveries — new kinds of e-commerce tools. It will also help it to expand in Canada.
Unata makes voice ordering software for grocery chains. It specializes in making and tracking digital coupons and circulars. The company is also developing a voice-activated tool to allow customers to purchase goods online from mid-size retailers using devices like Google Home.
“Instacart’s mission has always been to be an independent partner to retailers and enable them to give their customers the best experiences using the best technology,” said Apoorva Mehta, founder and CEO of Instacart, in a press release. “This acquisition allows us to take that commitment to the next level. It represents a landmark win for retailers, who will benefit from Instacart’s scale, Unata’s highly configurable technology, and the deep grocery industry integrations this acquisition will enable.”
“Unata and Instacart have long shared a vision of innovating the grocery industry and building the online grocery shopping experience of the future,” said Chris Bryson, CEO of Unata. “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.”
Instacart has surprised the industry by forging ahead with strong new relationships after its primer partner and investor Whole Foods Market was acquired by Amazon, which is expected to assume all delivery at some point.
Amazon has been encouraging customers to order groceries through Alexa, the assistant that powers its popular Echo speakers and a growing list of electronics from other manufacturers. The Unata voice-ordering technology will offer Instacart a comparable service.
Sprouts announced its alliance with Instacart last week, and Albertson’s will roll out online grocery ordering and delivery at 1,800 of its stores by mid-2018 with technology provided by Instacart. German grocery giant Aldi is also piloting delivery through Instacart and it is a preferred partner of various independent natural foods stores such as Native Sun.