Bengaluru: Flipkart has acquired an Israel-based analytics start-up called Upstream Commerce, as India’s largest online retailer looks to support its massive seller base with services such as real-time pricing and information on product assortment.
This is Flipkart’s second acquisition in as many months, after the Walmart-controlled e-commerce firm acquired Indian artificial intelligence start-up Liv.ai in August. The latest buyout will also enable Flipkart to have an outpost in Israel, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost start-up ecosystems.
The terms of the latest deal were not disclosed.
“We will continue to be aggressive in building and getting global tech to solve for some of the hardest e-commerce problems. With the Upstream acquisition, we will now have tech and talent presence across Asia, US and Israel, some of the key global hubs for innovation. The team at Upstream Commerce is highly talented and as we welcome them to Flipkart we are also looking forward to making Israel one of our excellence centres to do cutting edge data science work," said Flipkart chief executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy in a statement.
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Upstream, which counted Israel-based early-stage venture capital firm YL Ventures as its biggest investor prior to the buyout, currently builds cloud-based and automated competitive pricing products and solutions, among other things. Flipkart said the team at Upstream will continue to work out of Israel and that Upstream would also double up as one of Flipkart’s global centres for future data science work.
“While we have been actively developing machine learning algorithms to further improve the selection and pricing parameters for sellers, we believe that through added capabilities from Upstream, we will be able to provide them with automated pricing and help plan better selection in the most accurate, timely, and profitable way. These capabilities will be a big addition for us and together with our in-house AI capabilities, we will be able to share actionable insights with our sellers to help them make informed decisions on products and their pricing," said Anil Goteti, head of marketplace at Flipkart.
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In a recent interview in August, Krishnamurthy had said Flipkart would continue to invest heavily on new technologies, especially in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, and indicated that the online retailer would not shy away from making big, bold acquisitions to boost its own offerings.
“We will not just consider it, we will chase it down," said Krishnamurthy at the time, when asked about further technology acquisitions that can be integrated within Flipkart.
Under Krishnamurthy, Flipkart has displayed renewed aggression towards large investments or outright buyouts of Internet and tech startups, as the e-commerce firm looks to diversify its business and reduce its reliance on a few categories such as smartphones and large appliances.
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Mint reported earlier in September that Flipkart has held talks to buy a stake in Hotstar, Star India’s video streaming service, as part of a broader strategy to bet on video content and attract more Internet consumers and shoppers, without having to build an Amazon Prime Video-like streaming service from scratch.
Avendus Capital was the financial advisor to Upstream Commerce for this deal, Flipkart said.