Artificial Intelligence has been around for quite some time, but the development has only picked up pace recently. Many AI startups are catching the attention of investors and Venture Capital firms and are growing at a rapid pace. Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart has now become the latest name willing to invest in AI startups from Silicon Valley. This move comes about a month after Flipkart created their Internal AI unit, ‘AIforIndia’.

Reports indicate that Flipkart is willing to invest in at least one AI based startup from Silicon Valley. This move is likely to acquire deep-tech solutions which will help Flipkart in the battle against Amazon, which is their biggest competitor. A source close to the matter commented –

When Flipkart came up with AIforIndia, the company’s co-founder and Chairman Sachin Bansal stated that they would be investing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in the AI initiative over the next few years. As per Bansal, Flipkart is looking at AI-related acquisitions in India as well as in the US.

“They (Flipkart) are 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.”

While Amazon is coming out with a number of innovative efforts in the western markets, they have taken a more traditional approach in India. However, knowing that Amazon has technologies which are ready to disrupt the markets anytime they want should be worrisome for Flipkart. Amazon too has invested in a number of AI-based startups in the past.

Flipkart has been trying to bring in AI technologies into their service since 2015. Back in 2015, Flipkart had acquired F7 Labs in Silicon Valley which helped them focus on AI and Machine Learning technologies. The 10-person team at F7 Labs is working towards automating a number of systems which are done manually till now. This includes the automated moderation of comments and reviews.


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