In early 2000, Louis Borders, founder and chairman of Webvan, the newest and boldest entrant into the Internet grocery business, was reviewing the events of his recent board meeting. Sales growth at the company’s first distribution center (DC) was on schedule and the company’s publicized growth plan included opening distribution centers in 28 major metropolitan markets over the next three years. The Webvan board of directors had just made the decision to accelerate the company’s existing facility roll-out plan and would soon be revealing the revised plan to the public along with the company’s latest quarterly earning report. Although the board was still considering whether the company should make even more aggressive moves, all members of the board were very mindful of the primary need to execute well on the company’s grocery strategy. This case details the conception, business model, and launch of Webvan’s online grocery delivery service.
This material is available for download by current Stanford GSB students, faculty, and staff only. For inquiries, contact the Case Writing Office.