Grocery delivery startup Instacart has expanded to the southern reaches of the Bay Area, and is now dropping off groceries at homes throughout Sunnyvale and Los Altos and parts of Redwood City.

Instacart uses personal shoppers who pick up groceries from Costco, Whole Foods and Safeway, and deliver them in about two hours or less using their own vehicles. Customers order groceries online, and deliveries cost $3.99 for orders of at least $35, or customers can sign up for a one-year membership for $99.

The company has exploded since it launched in San Francisco in 2012, and is battling big-name retailers such as Walmart in the grocery delivery space, as well as Google (GOOG), whose Shopping Express service offers same-day grocery delivery from Whole Foods and Raley's. Amazon is expected to join soon the fray with plans to launch its grocery delivery service, Amazon Fresh, in San Francisco before the end of the year.


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The company doesn't make or store its own food, and doesn't have large distribution centers or truck fleets, allowing it to keep costs down and continue growing, said founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta. Instacart delivers in 10 Bay Area cities, including in Oakland, Berkeley, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Atherton and Mountain View. Aided by an $8.5 million Series A funding round from Sequoia Capital in July, the company expanded to Chicago in September, where it delivers in 13 neighborhoods. Its website also has an online recipe search.

Contact Heather Somerville at 510-208-6413. Follow her at Twitter.com/heathersomervil.