Instacart ($INSTACART) is a rare startup caught in a moment of outsized opportunity in the pandemic lockdown, thanks to its ability to guide groceries to users' front doors at a time when many are worried about masking up and running out into the supermarket to go shopping. 

And, now, it's cashing in; the company is reportedly raising hundreds of millions of dollars at a valuation as high as $14 billion, according to reports. Already, big-name investors like Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global have bought in. 

In the Apple Store, Instacart's engagement levels have soared in the lockdown, as the delivery app saw the number of ratings submitted by users nearly double during the pandemic. Of more than a million ratings, they're increasingly positive; Instacart reviews reflect ratings of roughly 4.6-out-of-5 and rising, a solid score. 

It's not just there that ratings have gone parabolic - ratings are rising in the Google Play Store (not shown), just not to the degree they have in Apple's marketplace. 

Instacart job postings have been on the decline lately - but with a number of digital marketplace leaders, like Vroom, an auto sales startup racing toward an IPO, or remote health company Teladoc, sliding listings still coincided with an increase in LinkedIn Employee Headcount. And, with Instacart (not shown), that trend holds up; it's possible Instacart is simply slowing some of its staffing initiatives, nevertheless. 

As lockdown disruption drives new consumer behaviors, investors are bullish on Instacart's last-mile capabilities to get people groceries and other critical items many don't want to leave home for. The questions the company may face in the long run, like other digital marketplace pioneers, is how to mix temporary staff and profitability expectations with a rapidly-evolving industry.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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