Bengaluru-headquartered food delivery unicorn Swiggy has snowballed into 2019 with its first acqui-hire to enhance its artificial intelligence capabilities with Bengaluru-based Kint.io for an undisclosed amount.
With this, the Kint.io team, led by founders Pavithra Solai Jawahar and Jagannathan Veeraraghavan will join Swiggy to boost its computer vision technology and give a superior consumer experience. Swiggy looks to leverage the tech to increase its expertise and talent in the sector. Belong.co was the consulting partner for this tech acqui-hire.
Founded in 2014, Kint.io uses deep learning and computer vision to recognise an object in a video. More details about Kint.io aren’t available, however, the brief shows that Kint enables AI-powered videos for digital journalism and amateur sports broadcasting.
Kint.io founders said in a statement, “We are extremely excited to be a part of the Swiggy family. AI research has leapfrogged this past year but lack of data, cultural biases, inability to adapt to our diversity, has somehow always pulled us back when it comes to applying AI to India-based problems, effectively. This is where Swiggy left us stumped. We were impressed by the team’s razor-focussed mindset to bring ingenious solutions for problems unique to India.”
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Swiggy started its journey in 2014 and caters to more than 70 cities with its over 60K restaurant partners. The company had a blockbuster 2018 with an entry into the unicorn club and $1 Bn cheque led by Naspers. It also posted a 220% jump in revenue for FY18.
The company has been leveraging new age technologies in the past few years and as a result of which it has added several portfolio services which include Swiggy Super, Scheduled, POP, Access, and Capital Assist.
On the acqui-hire, Dale Vaz, head of engineering and data sciences, Swiggy said, “The team at Kint.io comes with an exceptional understanding and expertise in AI, machine learning and data sciences. This acqui-hire is part of Swiggy’s strategy to scale our tech prowess by bringing in entrepreneurial teams that can solve unique customer problems while leveraging the network and resources at Swiggy.”
The acqui-hire for Swiggy comes at the time when it is busy facing delivery executives outrage along with restaurants association. Last year over 500 small to mid-sized restaurant companies petitioned the Competition Commission of India and the Prime Minister’s Office about the “misuse of dominant position” by food delivery companies including Swiggy, Zomato, UberEats and FoodPanda.
According to a recent report by research and consulting company RedSeer, the foodtech sector posted triple-digit growth for the third-year running and players in the space expanded their footprint like never before.
From a presence in just around 15 cities a year back, foodtech platforms expanded to over 100 cities in 2018 and about 30% of their orders now come from non-core markets. The RedSeer FoodTech Leadership Index (FLI) ranked Swiggy at the top place with a total score of 96 in the fourth quarter of 2018. Its arch-rival Zomato came in second with a score of 82.