Thiruvananthapuram, February 26 2022: India’s largest online grocery seller BigBasket has acquired the enterprise business unit of a deep-tech company incubated by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) with a view to revolutionizing offline retail in the country.
BigBasket, a TATA enterprise, will be implementing Kochi-based startup Agrima Infotech’s unique customer vision technology platform, Psyight, at the self-checkout counters of the former’s retail stores.The acquisition was announced by Hari Menon, CEO, BigBasket, on the sidelines of a two-day virtual ‘Huddle Global 2022’
Psyight, created by Anoop Balakrishnan, Arun Ravi and Nikhil Dharman under Agrima Infotech, helps identify all Indian fruits and vegetables uniquely from an image without using barcodes.
KSUM Chief Executive Officer John M Thomas described the acquisition as a “milestone” for any Kerala startup. “It not only reiterates the strength of our startup ecosystem, but shows the great impression firms such as BigBasket have about our startups,” he noted. “I hope the deal would encourage startups to move ahead strongly in their attempt to scale up their business.”
Agrima Infotech Co-founder and CEO Mr Anoop Balakrishnan said his startup joining hands with BigBasket will redefine the offline shopping experience in the country. Co-Founder and COO Arun Ravi said detecting raw food items such fruits and vegetables uniquely from an image is a complex machine vision problem since the appearance of those items may vary with respect to the location of its origin and seasons. “We have captured thousands of images of each SKU (stock-keeping unit) across the seasons and from different locations to achieve cent per cent accuracy,” he added.
BigBasket will use this expertise on AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) to enrich and enhance a whole lot of technological innovation in the company. Recently, BigBasket opened its first technology-driven self-service ‘Fresho’ retail store in Bangalore.
Kerala targets 15,000 startups
Kerala has set an ambitious target of having over 15,000 startups and 200,000 jobs in emerging technologies in five years, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said while inaugurating ‘Huddle Global 2022’.
“Startups being the future of the country, Kerala is committed to providing the right ecosystem. Our startups have raised Rs 3,200 crore as equity investments since 2015. Along with startup infrastructure in the Technology Innovation Zone Kochi, the government is considering a similar campus at Thiruvananthapuram, focusing on emerging technologies,” the Chief Minister said.
India is the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem with more than 55,000 startups. Startup India ranking places Kerala as one of the top Indian states for startup environment.
The Chief Minister also opened the state’s first Fintech Accelerator and Finishing School on the sidelines of the two-day conclave. This is an initiative of Kochi-based Open Financial Technologies in collaboration with KSUM to support startups coming up with fintech solutions. Open will be investing Rs 200 crore for the next five years as part of the Centre of Excellence (CoE) and Fintech Accelerator.
Open Fintech Accelerator, which will launch its first cohort from March 1, is led by Anish Achuthan, Mabel Chacko, Deena Jacob and Ajeesh Achuthan. On the first day of the event, KSUM has signed MoUs with Google for Startups, Habitat, Jetro, Global Accelerator Network, I Hub Gujarat, NASSCOM and CSL, among others.