Kint.io which was founded in 2014, is the first technology-led acqui-hire for Swiggy, as unicorn startup moves ahead with its long-term strategy of building AI-first platforms to provide better customer experience. The Bengaluru-based foodtech company which last December raised $1 billion in a funding round led by existing investor Naspers, however did not divulge the financial terms.
“The team at Kint.io comes with an exceptional understanding and expertise in AI, machine learning and data sciences,” said Dale Vaz, head of engineering and data sciences, Swiggy. Vaz who previously was director of software engineering at Amazon India is helping Swiggy in its transformation to become an AI-first company.
“The team joins us at a very exciting time. The focus has never been more intense on building industry-changing technology in AI and other areas,” he added.
As part of this acqui-hire, the founding members of Kint.io Pavithra Solai Jawahar and Jagannathan Veeraraghavan will join the Swiggy team. According to them, even though the country has made significant progress in AI research, lack of data and cultural biases somehow always pulled them 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,” said Jawahar and Veeraraghavan in a statement. “This is a great opportunity for us to show the scale and address the problems of a billion people through AI.”
Swiggy has so far made two acquisitions (excluding Kint.io) including Mumbai based on demand delivery firm Scootsy in last August for around Rs 50 crore, and 48East, a gourmet food startup in December of 2017 for an undisclosed amount.
Acquiring technologies such as AI, machine learning and data sciences are becoming very critical for food tech companies to scale up their operations and predict demand, understand customer preferences and quickly deliver the food products. Last December, Zomato had acquired a drone start-up TechEagle Innovations, for an undisclosed sum. Lucknow-based TechEagle will help Zomato carve a path toward drone-based food delivery in India, creating a hub to hub delivery network powered by hybrid multi-rotor drones.