3 Reasons Why NFX Is Investing in Jupiter
by Pete Flint (@PeteFlint). Pete is a General Partner at NFX, a seed-stage venture firm based in San Francisco.
From left to right: Jupiter Co-Founder and CEO Chad Munroe, Co-Founder and COO Anuraag Nallapati, NFX Managing Partner Pete Flint, Co-Founder and CMO Anna Pinol, Co-Founder and CTO William Yin. Previously Talar, NFX worked with the team to rename them Jupiter.
Jupiter is an online grocery-delivery service that offers guaranteed delivery times and a machine learning algorithm that builds out your grocery list so you spend less time browsing and placing orders, and more time doing things you’d rather be doing. It’s groceries on auto-pilot.
NFX co-led Jupiter’s $2.8 million seed round last summer, with participation from Khosla Ventures. We are sharing this news now as Jupiter comes out of stealth mode ready to become leaders in the rapidly growing world of online grocery delivery.
In NFX tradition, we want the entire Founder community to benefit from funding announcements so we’re sharing the 3 biggest reasons we invested in Jupiter. As Founders ourselves who’ve started 10 venture-backed companies, we believe this level of transparency can shed greater light on how VCs see your startup during the pitch process.
Here’s what we saw in Jupiter…
1) A Passionate Team That Works Well Together
There are Founders who work well together, and then there are the Founders who are so in sync they take it to the next level. The Founders of Jupiter are the latter. When NFX first met the team in April 2019, they were graduate and undergraduate students at Stanford. Then they went through Y Combinator and they shared a home. During this time, we were struck by their backgrounds, their scrappiness, and their overall passion for this business.
The team is impressive and also very complementary. CEO Chad Munroe met co-Founders Anna Pinol and Anuraag Nallapati during their first year at GSB and worked on a business idea together. Anna had ecommerce and delivery experience from her time working at Amazon Prime. Chad had worked in product for SpaceX and Pratt & Whitney. Anuraag Nallapati is the former head of analytics at one of the largest logistics companies in India, and the fourth co-Founder, Will Yin worked as a Stanford machine learning researcher and engineer at Virtualitics. The co-Founders are excited to be building a company together, and are well aware that their biggest asset is speed. This helped them pivot their businesses model quickly earlier this year when the pandemic hit to contactless deliveries and sourcing their products from wholesalers.
2) An Enormous Market That’s Going Digital
The market size of supermarkets and grocery stores in the US this year is $682 billion. Groceries deliveries were moving online before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but the combination of sheltering-in-place and the continued need for groceries rapidly accelerated the trend. Instacart, Amazon, and Walmart grocery delivery services all experienced huge increases this Spring. Instacart alone saw an increase of about 450% in sales in April. And while some shoppers might revert back to in-store shopping, the longer term trends are clear and home grocery delivery is still in its infancy and transitioning to digital. Consumers today have discovered the convenience of having their weekly groceries delivered to their front door, and Jupiter will make it even easier for them.
3) An Opportunity for Innovation
We felt there was a lack of overall product innovation in the grocery industry and that there was a unique opportunity to build a new technology company in this space. Some of the first generation grocery delivery companies are a decade old and we believe this is an industry that’s in its infancy and has lots of room for innovation.
Jupiter offers its members guaranteed weekly delivery slots, and has automatic features designed to set your favorite items on automatic reorder. It’s algorithm drafts a grocery list for you to review, edit, and approve each week, all designed to save you time and more to come.