Is Instacart grocery service coming to the Twin Cities?

The buzzing tech startup is like Uber, except for groceries.

KAVITA KUMAR
Updated 5/4/2015

Is Instacart eyeing an expansion to the Twin Cities?

That appears to be the case. The San Francisco-based startup that hires independent personal shoppers to deliver groceries to customers’ doorsteps within an hour recently posted a job for a city manager in Minneapolis.

The position would be focused on operations and growth in Minneapolis and to “build an empire by expanding Instacart’s operations to new neighborhoods, while working with PR and local partners to create the biggest buzz in local media,” the posting reads.

A spokeswoman for Instacart would not confirm the possible expansion to Minneapolis, saying the company does not comment on new city launches before they happen.

Instacart also has a job posting for an operations associate in Minneapolis.

While there are a number of other grocery delivery operators in other cities -- Peapod, FreshDirect, etc. -- Instacart has become a darling of Silicon Valley for its Uber-like model in which it hires shoppers who use their own cars to buy and deliver items from existing grocery stores such as Whole Foods rather than trying to build out a network of its own food warehouses.

Instacart, which was founded in 2012, recently closed on a $220 million round of venture capital funding and has been using that money to expand to more cities. It is now up and running in 15 cities, including Chicago, Denver, Seattle, Boston, and New York City. It has also been expanding a partnership with Petco to deliver items from its stores in certain markets.

Instacart's delivery fees typically start at $3.99.

But grocery delivery is not new to the Twin Cities region. Coborn's, the St. Cloud-based grocer, has been delivering to many Twin Cities neighborhoods since 2008 when it took over Simon Delivers, a local pioneering online grocery company that eventually failed.

Besides the job posting, there have been some other clues Instacart may soon be expanding here. When I signed up for an account on its website, I got an email back that said, "We’re almost ready to open for business in Minneapolis.”

And there have been some hints on Twitter.

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