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Zomato Antes Up On Delivery Services, Acquires Logistics Startup Sparse Labs

Zomato Antes Up On Delivery Services, Acquires Logistics Startup Sparse Labs

Restaurant discovery and food-ordering portal Zomato, has announced the acquisition of tech-based logistics company Sparse Labs in a blog post on its website. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With this acquisition, Zomato aims at improving delivery service for its users. Post the acquisition, Sparse Labs’ founder Pankaj Batra will join Zomato to help develop the app further.

Founded in 2014 by Pankaj Batra as a bootstrapped venture, Sparse Labs has developed an Android-based app which gives the rider’s location to both the customer and the restaurant in real-time. The rider can also use the app to access route information.

The app also allows riders to be allocated with orders based upon the proximity of their restaurants. It further employs machine learning to identify the rider’s familiarity with particular neighbourhoods in order to facilitate efficient deliveries.

Commenting on the development, Deepinder Goyal, Zomato’s co-founder and CEO stated in the blog post that, “Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re taking a big leap forward in bolstering our delivery-tech capabilities with the acquisition of Sparse Labs, a logistics-tech startup that helps restaurants track and optimise their in-house delivery fleet.”

With the app, restaurants can also use a proprietary GPS tracker that has been developed by Sparse which can then be attached onto the delivery bikes.

“Joining forces with Sparse Labs will allow us to significantly improve the food ordering experience on the app, by giving users real-time GPS-based status updates on their order,” he added.

According to an official statement, post-acquisition, Sparse Labs will now be renamed as Zomato Trace and the service will be provided free of cost to the fleet of restaurants attached with Zomato’s food delivery network.

On how the new development will facilitate things at the restaurant’s end, he stated, “At the restaurant end, this technology will help make deliveries highly cost- and time-efficient, allowing them to optimise delivery routes and ensuring minimal wait time for riders. We’ve always maintained that the most cost-efficient delivery fleet is the restaurant’s own, where they can utilise the same staff during off-peak hours for back-of-house and marketing activities.”

Zomato acquired nine startups across the globe in 2015 including MaplePOS and Urbanspoon which was acquired for $52 Mn to enter the US and Australian markets; Turkey’s popular restaurant research service firm Mekanist; Italy-based web and mobile restaurant search services startup Cibando Ltd; MenuMania in New Zealand; Lunchtime in the Czech Republic; Obedovat in Slovakia; and Gastronauci in Poland.

In April 2015, Zomato acquired the US-based online table reservation platform NexTable. In April 2016, it also announced the launch of its cloud-based point of sale product for restaurants under Zomato Base.