Instacart announced that it has joined forces with Toronto-based Unata, a digital solution platform that will provide Instacart the ecommerce tools it needs to evolve in online grocery shopping. Bloomberg reported that the acquisition is valued at $65 million.
In a blog post, Instacart said its mission is to be an independent partner to retailers, enabling them to give customers the best experience and the best technology. Unata provides digital storefronts to 1,300 grocery locations, specializing in making and tracking digital coupons and circulars
Going after Amazon, Unata is also developing its own voice-activated tool to allow customers to purchase goods online from mid-size retailers using devices like Google Home.
Amazon has been encouraging customers to order groceries using Alexa, its assistant that powers Echo, Bloomberg said. In 2017, Amazon changed the grocery game when it purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion.
Instacart has made its own noise in the grocery industry. After raising $400 million last year it expanded from just 30 markets in the U.S. to 190 locations in North America including Ontario, Canada. It delivers groceries from Albertsons Cos., Costco Wholesale Corp. and Kroger along with other retailers.
The acquisition will help Instacart develop catering services or an online tool to order customer birthday cakes from a nearby grocery store and expand further into Canada.
TechCrunch reported that with Unata, Instacart can get itself into the app development side of the grocery industry, positioning itself in the background of the relationship between a grocery store and its customers.
This week there were also talks that Kroger is interested in acquiring Boxed.com, an online bulk order retail startup.