Bengaluru-based online food delivery platform Swiggy has announced that it has acqui-hired Kint.io, a Bengaluru-based AI startup. This is the first acqu-hire by the unicorn this year.
Last December, the platform had raised $1 billion in Series H funding led by Naspers and other existing investors. It is the first single largest fund raise by a foodtech company in India.
Kint.io is the first technology-led acqui-hire for Swiggy, as it makes large investments in its long-term strategy of building AI-first platforms that enable convenience to consumers, said a release. Belong.co acted as the consulting partner for this acqui-hire.
Kint.io was founded in 2014, and uses deep learning and computer vision to object recognition in video. Last year, Swiggy hired Dale Vaz as Head of Engineering to help build AI-driven systems to help hyperlocal discovery and on-demand delivery.
After the current move, the Kint.io team will be joining Swiggy to boost its computer vision technology and superior consumer experience. The founding members - Jagannathan Veraraghavan and Pavithra Solai Jawahar - will soon join the Swiggy team.
Dale Vaz, Head of Engineering and Data Sciences, Swiggy said in a press statement:
“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 focus has never been more intense on building industry-changing technology in AI and other areas. We look forward to working together on great new features and capabilities."
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Pavithra and Jagannathan said in a press statement -
"AI research has leapfrogged this past year but lack of data, cultural biases, and 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-focused mindset to bring ingenious solutions for problems unique to India. We are confident that this partnership can unlock immense possibilities. This is a great opportunity for us to show scale and address a-billion-people problems through AI. We look forward to an interesting innings with Swiggy."
For FY17, the company posted a revenue of Rs 133.1 crore and a loss of Rs 205.2 crore. In 2017-18, it posted a revenue of Rs 23.6 crore and a loss of Rs 137.2 crore. According to research firm RedSeer, the overall foodtech market in India is estimated to reach $2.5 billion by 2021 against $700 million at present.
Last year, both Swiggy and Zomato witnessed an aggressive growth. In December, Zomato acquired Lucknow-based TechEagle Innovations, which works exclusively on drones. With the acquisition, Zomato said it wants to create and use technology to enable a multi-rotor drone for hub-to-hub deliveries.