Alibaba-backed Paytm is continuing its acquisition spree. The Noida-based behemoth has acquired context-aware personal assistant application Shifu. The amount involved in the acquisition wasn’t disclosed, but according to media reports, it was to the tune of $8 million.
The company will leverage Shifu’s tech infrastructure to enhance customer experience and use its artificial intelligence capabilities. Shifu earlier raised funds from Vijay Shekhar Sharma (Paytm) among others, and was incubated at One97 Communication.
Shifu is a context-aware personal assistant for smartphones. It mines your usage data to predict what you are going to do next and makes relevant suggestion. Importantly, it knows when you are free to make calls and reminds you to return calls you missed and to charge your phone.
Speaking on the acquisition, Kiran Vasireddy, Sr. Vice President, Paytm said,
Shifu has been quite popular as an intelligent task-managing application. By integrating Shifu’s technology and behavioural modelling with the Paytm app, we will be able to offer a highly intuitive and personalised experience to our users. By predicting user behavior based on past usage, location and other data points, our platform will be able to offer relevant recommendations to our users.
Founded by Prashant Singh, Deepansh Jain and Michael Massey, Shifu enables your phone to understand and adapt to you, thereby making it truly personalized. The 20-member team behind Shifu has also come on board across various verticals at Paytm.
Last year, Paytm emerged as prolific investor in O2O (offline to online), logistics, artificial intelligence and hyperlocal segments. Last month, Paytm acquired Near.in, an app-based marketplace for local services, for about $2 million. The company invested $2.5 million in Chandigarh-based autorickshaw hailing app Jugnoo and $10 million in Mumbai-based logistics startup LogiNext. The company also led a massive $50 million round in hyperlocal deal hunting platform Little.
Paytm is trying to up the ante in the artificial intelligence, logistics and hyperlocal segments as these will decide the success of digital majors in the long run. Shifu has built decent recommendation tools leveraging M2M learning (artificial intelligence) and seems to be an interesting fit for Paytm.