Editorial Team

Flipkart, India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), the industry interface organisation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) as a part of its ongoing Industry-academia collaboration program.

As part of the MoU, Flipkart will offer research grants and market insights to FITT to develop hands-on prototypes and publish research papers in collaboration with the teams at Flipkart in the areas of social commerce, product recommendation to resellers and the consumer product exploration journey. This will provide IIT academia involved in the partnership an opportunity to work closely with Flipkart on research projects aimed at solving relevant technical challenges in the e-commerce domain.

Flipkart and FITT will also jointly undertake a number of other initiatives, including organising seminars, offering conference travel grants and internship and mentorship opportunities. This MoU is a step to strengthen Flipkart’s academic collaboration program, which it has been nurturing for the past five years. These collaborations aim to create industry-focused applied research on some of the most compelling problem statements of online commerce, which can make e-commerce accessible to more consumers and sellers alike.

According to a report by Recogn in November 2021, India is likely to have 228 million native consumers through social commerce by the end of 2022, a 45% jump from the 2021 user base. This necessitates research and understanding about how the next set of consumers will explore e-commerce through social interaction, and also learn about user contributions on product recommendations in this journey.

Commenting on the collaboration, Mayur Datar, Chief Data Scientist at Flipkart, said “As an organisation committed to solving for India, we have developed numerous industry-first capabilities over the years and continue to push the boundaries to bring customer delight and create shared value for the ecosystem partners. In this endeavour, we are pleased to partner with IIT Delhi to co-develop capabilities that play a pivotal role in revolutionising the future of social commerce. This will also provide an opportunity to the students, scholars and professors to gain real-world expertise and build innovative solutions that lead to ecosystem development.”

“FITT engages with industry to strengthen research translation and knowledge transfer for socio-economic empowerment. In this context, we are pleased to partner with Flipkart, a homegrown e-commerce marketplace to explore open innovation opportunities towards creating valuable business solutions for millions of customers,” said Dr Anil Wali, Managing Director, FITT.

Flipkart is vested in long-term advancement of universities in India and fostering collaborations through impactful academic research aligned to industry needs to bring forth India-specific solutions. It has earlier forged several academic partnerships with leading institutes, including the Indian Institute of Science (IISC), IIIT Hyderabad, IITs, (Kharagpur, Patna, Bombay and Kanpur) and IIMs (Ahmedabad and Kolkata). Flipkart also works with a few foreign universities such as Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, San Diego.

Collaborative research projects have led to the development of a range of technologies such as fashion recommendation, query understanding, attribute extraction, demand planning, product categorization, review helpfulness, supply chain management (e.g., warehouse storage allocation), fraud detection, and machine translation. Several research papers have been published as a result in top academic conferences of ML/AI applications such as information retrieval (IR), knowledge discovery, data mining and natural language processing (NLP).

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