HomeGrocer-Webvan: A timeline

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May: HomeGrocer.com launches an online grocery-delivery service in a tiny space in Bellevue. It later moves to Kirkland.


April 29: Former Netscape Communications Chief Executive Officer Jim Barksdale invests $5 million in HomeGrocer and becomes a board member, the first investment for the Menlo Park, Calif.-Barksdale Group.

May 17: HomeGrocer expands into its second city, launching service in Portland.

May 18: Amazon.com acquires a 35 percent stake in HomeGrocer for $42.5 million, helping give HomeGrocer enough capital to accelerate its national expansion.

Sept. 13: HomeGrocer expands service into Irvine, Calif. - its third market. The company says it expects to move into as many as 20 markets by 2001.

Sept. 15: HomeGrocer names former Federal Express and Citigroup executive Mary Alice Taylor as chairman and chief executive officer. Her mandate from the board is to take the company public.

Oct. 17: Webvan postpones its initial stock sale after the Securities and Exchange Commission raises concerns about publicity surrounding the planned sale.

Nov. 2: HomeGrocer secures $100 million from Amazon.com, Martha Stewart and other investors. The company says it will use the money to expand into 20 new locations during 2000, lease 2 million square feet of warehouse space and more than 1,000 new Freightliner delivery trucks, hire 7,000 employees and launch a multimillion-dollar ad campaign.

Nov. 4: Webvan goes public. Shares rise 66 percent in the first day of trading, closing at $24.88 and giving the company a market value of $7.9 billion. Kroger, the largest U.S. operator of supermarkets, has a market value of $18.3 billion.

Nov. 29: Webvan announces plans to build a distribution center in Kent, the first mention of the companies competing head-to-head.

Dec. 17: HomeGrocer files for an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Jan. 26: HomeGrocer expands further into rival Webvan's back yard, opening a new distribution center in Southern California.

Jan. 28: Webvan announces its intention to operate in 15 U.S. markets by the end of 2001.

Feb. 22: HomeGrocer signs a deal to pay America Online $60 million to have its service displayed on the Internet giant's Web site.

March 11: HomeGrocer goes public, raising $264 million. Its shares rise a modest $2.13 on the first day of trading to close at $14.13.

June 26: Webvan buys HomeGrocer for $1.1 billion in stock. The announcement comes just as the two companies are set to compete in key markets such as Chicago and Atlanta.

Sept. 26: Louis Borders, Webvan's founder, resigns as chairman, replaced by president and CEO George Shaheen.


April 3: Webvan says it will run out of cash by the fourth quarter if it doesn't raise a substantial amount.

April 13: Shaheen resigns as Webvan's chief executive officer, saying "a different kind of executive is needed to lead the company at this time." Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan steps in to run the company.

April 28: Webvan lays off 885 employees, about 25 percent of its work force. The company has lost $697 million since 1998.