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How Ocado went from understated British grocer to an $18.4 billion tech giant, as the coronavirus pandemic confirms the future of grocery shopping is online

"Bots" are seen on the grid (or "The Hive") of Ocado's "smart platform" in Andover, Britain, on May 1, 2018.
“Bots” are seen on the grid (or “The Hive”) of Ocado’s “smart platform” in Andover, Britain, on May 1, 2018.

REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

  • As grocery stores worldwide experienced stockpiling, long lines, and health worries amid the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people turned to shopping online.

  • It has been a goldrush for the British company Ocado, an online-only grocery marketplace that also operates technology for supermarket giants worldwide.

  • Ocado was the best performing stock on the FTSE 100 in the second quarter of 2020, and, in May, Ocado raised over $1 billion to grow its services.

  • It is now betting big on its US expansion, hoping to convert Americans to grocery shopping online.

  • Huge challenges remain, though. Many Americans are still reluctant to buy food they can’t see in person, and some fear the current online pandemic-driven boom could prove a one-off.

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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