Instacart‘s chief financial officer Sagar Sanghvi has departed from the on-demand grocery delivery company after nearly six years and is returning to his investing roots. Specifically, Sanghvi has joined Accel as a partner focused on global growth-stage consumer and enterprise investments.
Prior to becoming CFO of Instacart, Sanghvi served as the company’s vice president of finance and strategy. Interestingly, when he became CFO of Instacart in 2019, he was succeeding Ravi Gupta, who left the company to join Sequoia Capital as a partner on its growth team.
Sanghvi and Gupta worked together as investors at KKR (after Sanghvi had worked as an analyst for Goldman Sachs), so it is notable they are following similar career paths of first working in finance and then becoming operators before transitioning into VC roles. Both joined Instacart in 2015. And Gupta is the one who introduced Sanghvi to Accel’s Miles Clements years ago.
When Sanghvi joined Instacart, it had approximately 300 employees. By the time he’d left earlier this year, it had more than 1,500.
“I’ve been through quite the roller coaster of ups and downs along the way. It was the classic Silicon Valley journey. During my time there, a few crazy things happened,” he told TechCrunch. “ Amazon bought Whole Foods. We experienced the COVID pandemic and lockdowns, which led to an amazing wave of demand. It was an interesting time to be navigating the company.”
And while Sanghvi says he would definitely rather see a business be smaller “than have COVID happen to the world,” it was a time where he learned a lot in helping grow the company.
One of the things Sanghvi worked on during his time at Instacart was a $200 million venture round in October 2020 that valued the company at $17.7 billion. (Since then it raised another $265 million at a $39 billion valuation.) In fact, during his tenure, the company raised more than $2 billion.
But now, Sanghvi will be the one investing in other companies’ rounds — out of Accel’s Palo Alto office.
While his Instacart experience is clearly relevant to the consumer space, Sanghvi said he’ll be working with not just consumer-focused startups, but also a lot of enterprise solutions.
“One of the things that drew me to Miles and the team was the experience and success Accel as a firm has had investing in all different types of companies within the technology sector and so I’m hoping to diversify my experience,” he told TechCrunch.
Clements praised what he described as Sanghvi’s “humility and versatility.”
“He’s done everything from raising $2 billion of capital to being in the minutiae of evaluating back office automation software. He has led a company that is on its way to being an iconic consumer brand, but he’s also been a media investor at KKR,” Clements said. “He guided Instacart through some massive recent fundraises but only because he has also helped navigate through some previous existential challenges. So he brings a lot of natural empathy to founders and entrepreneurs.”
For his part, Sanghvi is eager to start investing as part of the Accel team.
When deciding to move to the venture world, he said, he was looking for a “very well-known brand” that invested across at all stages. He found that in Accel, he said.
“One of the things that was important to me was to find the type of people who really care about the success of companies, and in every person I met at Accel, I could see they took that responsibility very seriously,” Sanghvi told TechCrunch.
He officially started in his new role last week, so he’s actively scoping out investments as I type.