Swiggy successfully concluded Gigabytes, a Hyperlocal Innovation Summit. With the theme of ‘Solving Convenience for the Next Billion through Tech and AI’, the exclusive congregation included innovators and thought leaders from leading technology companies, start-ups, venture capitalists, innovation labs and academia. The goal was to bring together a peer-group of innovators, who could share their insights and learnings and outline their vision for the role technology will play to make our lives more convenient.
Sriharsha Majety, CEO and co-founder of Swiggy welcomed the guests in his opening address and spoke of the rapidly changing landscape in consumer convenience with experiences from Swiggy’s own journey. Focusing on the company’s vision to elevate the quality of life of urban consumers by offering unparalleled convenience, he said, “Our continued focus on customer experience has enabled us to build a highly scaled business from ground up. As we look to solve the challenges in the hyperlocal space, our investments in technology and AI will play an integral role in enabling convenience for everyone.”
The keynote address for Gigabytes was delivered by Larry Illg, CEO, Prosus Ventures (formerly known as Naspers Ventures). Prosus is one of the largest technology investors in the world and Swiggy’s investment partner since 2017. In his session, Larry discussed market projections that will position India as the second-largest economy in the world by 2030. This will be fueled by rapid urbanization and tech advancement, especially in mobile technology, which remains a planet-scale opportunity. He closed his keynote address by showcasing some of the innovative ways in which companies are solving for consumer convenience.
“It was a pleasure to participate in Swiggy’s inaugural conference as a committed investment partner since 2017. The day consisted of a variety of top-notch technology leaders discussing the next wave of innovation in India and beyond,” said Larry Illg, CEO, Prosus Ventures and Food (formerly Naspers Ventures and Food). “We have been committed to India for over a decade, having invested over $4.5B in the country since 2007. We believe the quality of the best Indian entrepreneurs and their ability to build innovative businesses that address the unique needs of the consumer in India offer unparalleled growth opportunities and today’s gathering further strengthened that position.”
Gigabytes hosted a CXO Fireside chat, moderated by Anand Daniel, Partner at Accel. He was joined by Ajey Gore, CTO at GO-Jek, Shamik Sharma, New Business Lines at Curefit and Rahul Jaimini, CTO at Swiggy who shared their thoughts on scaling product and tech to enable large scale innovations.
Earlier in the day, the conference hosted an engaging Innovation Hour which gave an overview of some of the key technological advancements that become enablers for the ecosystem. The first speaker was Anirban Tarafdar, Business Counsellor for Swiggy Labs, the innovation arm of Swiggy. He spoke about innovation under ambiguity and highlighted the depth in horizontal scaling. With the company having recently launched products such as Swiggy Go, Swiggy Store, and Swiggy Daily, this talk gave insights on the creation of new products and the challenges associated with it. This was followed by a talk by Vipul Singh, CEO and Co-founder of Aarav Unmanned Systems, which manufactures industry-grade drones for applications in mining. Vipul spoke of the mobility challenges in India due to rapid urbanization and how these can be overcome by drone technology. He highlighted the use of drones to create 3D map models of cities and towns. The final speakers for the Innovation Hour were Akshay Deshraj and Amit Manchanda, Co-founders of Vernacular.ai. The duo showcased some of the challenges that could be faced by users beyond tier 2 markets, with regards to communication. They spoke about speech disfluencies, multiple dialects and the need for built-for-India solutions that offer an Indic approach to understanding the spoken language.
The Lightning Talks were the highlight of the second half of the day, with conversations on areas like the need for hyperlocal maps presented by Amar Nayak, Senior Data Scientist for Here Touch, the role of data science in enabling convenience by Goda Ramkumar, Data Scientist at xto10x, and route recommendations for taxis by Sayan Ranu, who is the Assistant Professor at IIT Delhi. Madhusudan Shekar, Principal Technical Evangelist, Amazon Web Services, talked about the next generation of e-commerce platforms, while Aseem Ahmed, Senior Product Manager – Cloud Security at Akamai Technologies spoke on the importance of digital personalised experiences.
Swiggy’s own leaders hosted three of these Lightning Talks that focused on Swiggy’s technology and offerings. Devansh Gupta, Senior Principal Software Engineer at Swiggy shared insights on the serviceability at Swiggy. Jairaj Sathyanarayana, AVP Data Science for Swiggy spoke about the food graph and the personalization that has given the platform an edge over its competition. David Zakkam, VP Analytics for Swiggy, touched upon customer and location intelligence, giving a brief on how analytics play an important role in optimized order fulfilment, with minimal chances of error.
The concluding session at Gigabytes 2019 was the AI panel discussion, moderated by Dale Vaz, Head of Engineering and Data Sciences, Swiggy. The panel comprised of Rajeev Rastogi, Vice President, Machine Learning at Amazon, Euro Beinat, Global Head Data Science and AI at Naspers Limited, Hemant Misra, VP Applied Research at Swiggy, and Arati Deo, Managing Director, Artificial Intelligence Capability at Accenture India. This panel focused on the challenges of scaling AI for a billion use cases and how companies need to think differently about managing billion scale data, ML technologies and building organisational muscle to execute AI at scale.
Speaking about Swiggy’s first Gigabytes summit, Dale Vaz, Head of Engineering and Data Sciences, Swiggy, said, “Solving for convenience for a billion consumers is unique and challenging. We’re building Gigabytes as a starting point to spark an industry-wide conversation on how technology and AI can enable a transformation in the way consumers will live in the future. We are delighted with the insights shared by our diverse set of speakers, the shared learning, the networks built and the innovations this will lead to.”