With $1 billion in its kitty, Swiggy goes shopping for the latest technology

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People dine on a double-decker bus which has been converted to a mobile restaurant as it travels through the streets of Ahmedabad

Having bolstered its war chest with a billion dollars in December, India’s newest food tech unicorn is now reinforcing its technology base.

On Feb. 04, Bengaluru-headquartered Swiggy said it has acquired artificial intelligence startup Kint.io, which applies deep learning and computer vision for object recognition in videos. The value of the deal was not disclosed. Following the acquisition, founders of the four-year-old Kint.io, Pavithra Solai Jawahar and Jagannathan Veeraraghavan, will join Swiggy.

Kint.io’s capabilities will help Swiggy enhance its customer experience as object recognition can be applied to the discovery of restaurants using images and recommendations based on image search.

For four-year-old Swiggy, which has shot past nearest rival Zomato in terms of valuation, the acquisition could go a long way. “Both Swiggy and Zomato have acquired a significant number of users. The next phase is to keep the users locked in,” said Neil Shah, research director at the market intelligence firm Counterpoint. “Using technology to improve user experience and making the platform more intuitive will help Swiggy stay ahead and incur profits.”

Kint.io is Swiggy’s fourth acquisition. Last year, it had acquired on-demand delivery startup Scootsy for Rs50 crore, and SuprDaily, a milk delivery startup, to launch micro-delivery of staples such as milk, bread, and eggs. In December 2017, it had bought 48East to strengthen its supply capabilities.

Having cemented its delivery chain with the previous buyouts, Swiggy has now turned its focus to deep technologies.

A generous helping of tech

In December, Swiggy’s Gurugram-based rival Zomato also made a futuristic technology bet when it acquired TechEagle, a Lucknow-based startup, which the company said will help it in “building a tomorrow wherein users can expect a drone to deliver the food they ordered online.”

While Zomato believes that robots powering last-mile delivery is inevitable in the future, Swiggy is focusing on solving the problems of today, Satish Meena, a senior research analyst at Forrester Research, told Quartz. “Swiggy has been focussed on delivery since the beginning. The new acquisition is also a step in that direction. It has helped Swiggy zoom ahead of Zomato, even though its content is not as extensive,” Meena added.

Already, Swiggy uses AI and machine learning (ML) for matching consumer demand with supply from restaurants and delivery partners. On the consumer side, it uses AI to deliver a personalised discovery experience to customers based on their usage pattern.

“This experience is powered by ML-driven investments in catalogue intelligence, i.e. for classifying products as veg/egg/ non-veg; for customer intelligence to understand the preferences of our users; or if they are affordability-conscious customers; and to deliver a personalised listing of restaurants in the listing page and search,” Dale Vaz, head of engineering at Swiggy told Quartz in an e-mail.

view Quartz
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