Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart is reportedly looking giving a boost to its IT infrastructure and is therefore looking at making investments in deep-technology companies in the Silicon Valley.
The move is touted to be an endeavour to catch up with the global e-tail giant Amazon, which has a strong foothold in India.
According to reports, Flipkart is set to invest $25 million in an artificial intelligence startup. “Flipkart is looking at tech acquisitions in the valley because differentiated tech is a new focus area for the company… The idea is to bring these Indian tech founders from the US who can bring deep technology capabilities that don’t exist in India,” a person aware of the company’s plans told a newspaper.
He also said that Flipkart was lagging behind with respect to technology by almost four to five years. “Even as of 2015, Flipkart’s catalogue management system was broken. The search is still broken,” he added.
Over the last decade, Amazon has assiduously built its tech muscle with the help of AI, machine learning and robotics. According to investor Vikram Gupta, founder of venture capital firm IvyCap Ventures, taking on Amazon in the AI battle is an uphill task. “Amazon is a strong company one with a very long-term strategy. And it will not be easy for Flipkart to go against it… Amazon is leaps and bounds ahead of the market in using these new technologies and will remain the #1 retailer in the world over the next five to seven years,” he said reportedly, talking about the Seattle-based giant’s heft.
Amazon had earlier made news for plowing in over ₹13,800 crore in its India market, significantly ramping up machine learning and artificial intelligence to increase the market share in the country.
Flipkart had made a big push in AI last month by setting up their own internal unit called AIforIndia – a massive attempt to put machine learning and AI at the core of its business. According to news reports, the new AI team will be headed by chief data scientist Mayur Datar along with Bansal and Flipkart chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy.