Bengaluru – March 20, 2024: Flipkart, India’s homegrown 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 part of its ongoing industry-academic alliance initiatives.

As part of the MoU, Flipkart will offer research grants and market insights to FITT to generate granular, data-backed segments of users linked to different e-commerce categories based on shopping behaviour, demographics, surrounding users’ behaviour, etc. On the technical front, the collaborative effort will help to develop a general purpose user activity graph that could be harnessed for different use cases leveraging state-of-the-art GNN (graph neural network) based techniques. The research aims to address the limitation of existing persona creation tools and to learn from a user activity graph that encompasses information about the various personas associated with each user.

Flipkart has been nurturing academic alliances to build an ecosystem of learning and development through industry-focused research to address critical industry problems. Flipkart and FITT will also jointly undertake a number of other initiatives that include organising seminars, offering conference travel grants and engaging in company-sponsored research to support a project on a topic of mutual interest between Flipkart and the researchers from IIT Delhi.

Mayur Datar, Chief Data Scientist at Flipkart, said, “As a home-grown brand, Flipkart has been committed to solving for India. We have developed numerous industry-first capabilities over the years and continue to focus on innovations that will enhance the experience of customers by making their online shopping journey simple through personalised recommendations. Through our collaboration with IIT Delhi, we hope to find a data-driven solution that will enable us to understand our customers requirements and preferences better thereby, allowing us to elevate the shopping experience by offering persona-based recommendations. This will also provide an opportunity for academicians to work on challenges that the industry is grappling with and build innovative solutions that will help in transforming the ecommerce industry.”

Prof. Preeti Ranjan Panda, Dean Corporate Relations, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, said, “By combining Flipkart’s industry expertise with the academic prowess of IIT Delhi, this collaboration is poised to contribute significantly to the advancement of e-commerce technologies, ultimately enhancing the way businesses engage with and cater to their diverse customer base.”

Prof. Sayan Ranu, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, said “Beyond conducting cutting-edge research in machine learning, which IIT Delhi is already engaged in, it is crucial to translate these technologies into tangible products that can make a real-world impact. Through our collaboration with Flipkart, we aim to achieve precisely that. This research partnership aims to enhance personalized recommendations by incorporating user personas. In addition to persona-fortified product recommendations, this collaboration is poised to have a far-reaching impact by advancing machine learning models capable of handling large-scale real-world data effectively.”

Flipkart has been working with students and faculty members from reputed academic institutions to develop indigenous solutions that address unique real-world challenges confronted in a diverse market like India. Over the last two years, Flipkart signed up five projects across IIT Delhi, Bombay, and IISc.