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iFood, Brazil’s largest delivery app, funds new AI learning center

Contxto – What do companies like GrubHub, Delivery Hero and Doordash all have in common? Each of them utilizes emerging technology to provide customers with tasty meals delivered at fast speeds.

Seeing how the international food delivery ecosystem is worth around US$94.38 million, it’s easy to understand why Brazilian startup iFood takes digital innovations so seriously. The unicorn recently announced that it’ll be launching an AI “academy” to strengthen ties with the tech industry.

In summary

iFood is a successful food delivery company from São Paulo planning to invest US$20 million in opening an AI learning center. With an expected staff of 100 people by the end of the year, everything from machine learning, deep learning, behavioral science and logistics will be covered.

Sandor Caetano from fellow Brazilian unicorn Nubank will lead the initiative as Chief Data Scientist. Caetano previously ran the data science program for the neo-banking firm. He will also maintain close ties with nearby innovation center, Onovolab, that supports Brazilian entrepreneurs and startups.

In-depth

All of this is part of iFood’s US$500 million funding round that began last year. Many considered this to be the largest amount of capital ever raised by a Latin American startup, along with Gympass‘ recent funding round. We’re looking at one of Brazil’s most prominent unicorns since iFood presumably has a market share of 86 percent in Brazil.

Today, iFood operates in over 480 Brazilian cities with more than 50,000 restaurants. Also with over 120,000 delivery drivers, sources claim it’s Latin America’s biggest food delivery service

The startup contends to be 17 times larger than Uber Eats, the second largest food delivery app in Brazil. Officials at iFood also claim to have 17.4 million monthly orders, a 130 percent increase from last year.

According to Forbes, iFood was already using AI such as machine learning (ML) to improve its operations. ML is something that the growing enterprise wants to promote among local universities for further research and development.

Conclusion

Improved AI and solid data go part and parcel with making more informed consumer-focused decisions. Take a restaurant, for example. iFood’s dashboard will permit business owners to use data to identify useful trends. In the process, this could help boost sales and please customers.

For example, restaurants using AI and ML can evaluate efforts depending on the day, time, month, etc. So, if data tells you that Argentine chorizo is the biggest hit on Wednesday evenings, you can better prepare yourself to satisfy demand.

-JA

Jacob Atkins
Jacob Atkins is a journalist specializing in Latin America. He studied journalism and international relations at American University in Washington, D.C. and has previously reported from Chile, Ecuador, Haiti and Mexico. When he isn't writing he's most likely hiking or drawing.

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