Fashion e-tailer Myntra plans to turn its artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning platfrom called Rapid into a separate business vertical, just like parent Flipkart.
Ananth Narayanan, CEO at Myntra, told the Mint newspaper that he expects Rapid to be a billion-dollar business by 2020.
"There will be private brands of Myntra that are actually done completely through Rapid. These are brands like Moda Rapido, Here&now, etc. Secondly, we expect to actually do brands jointly with other brand partners even globally and we are in discussions with them, using this tech and even distributing globally,” he said.
The CEO also said that the AI unit will have a new leadership structure, internal processes and team. He added that Manohar Kamath and Ambarish Kenghe are supervising Rapid's growth.
In April this year, Ajit Narayanan, Myntra's chief technical officer, had told VCCircle that AI and personalisation would remain the company's core tech focus.
The online apparel seller is no stranger to futuristic tech. Its app already has elements of AI incorporated into it, using which it provides automated suggestions on complementary looks and accessories to go with a particular product.
In February, Myntra launched its first fully-automated design collection for in-house private label, Moda Rapido.
Here, the machine picks out the entire specification of an apparel and generates a design that is vetted by a human designer. Based on continuous human feedback, the machine learns to differentiate between good and bad design.
The CTO had earlier said that the focus on enhancing tech prowess was all-encompassing, and the company was looking to optimise the entire value chain. For example, since mobile accounts for 80% of Myntra’s revenues, it will continuously optimise the app to ensure it can function well even in poor networks.
However, CEO Narayanan has expanded the tech chief's premise and has said that Rapid will also look at creating a new source of revenue. He said that Myntra plans to offer Rapid as a paid software-as-a-service to a bunch of brands.
He also said Myntra may soon strike three paid, multi-year deals. "That also is a 70-80% margin business. It’s very profitable as a business... It’ll likely be a subscription-type service,” he said.
He also said that the company was working on two new brands with data insights from Rapid. The AI platform is also likely to expand its team to 60 employees from 35.
“We’re actually building up the talent pool both internally and through contractors, both in India and globally because the US and Europe are big areas for us to focus on because there are lots of brands that are wanting this technology,” Narayanan said.