By Xiu Ying, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – iFood is planning to invest US$20 million in opening an AI learning center to strengthen ties with the tech industry. 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.
All of this is part of iFood’s US$500 million funding round that began last year. São Paulo-based iFood is one of Latin America’s biggest and most successful startup food delivery company. Seeing how the international food delivery ecosystem is worth around US$94 billion, it’s easy to understand why 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.
Sandor Caetano from Nubank, another Brazilian startup wonder, 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.
iFood’s US$500 million funding round is considered 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.