Restaurant discovery and food-ordering portal Zomato, has acquired Sparse Labs, a logistics-tech startup that helps restaurants track and optimise their in-house delivery fleet. As part of the deal, Zomato aims at improving delivery service for its users. Post acquisition, Sparse Labs’ founder Pankaj Batra will continue developing his vision at Zomato.

Founded in 2014 by Pankaj Batra, Sparse Labs has developed a lightweight Android-based app, which transmits a rider’s location to both the restaurant and the user in real time. The rider can use the app to receive route information, which helps ensure quicker and more efficient deliveries. The system also allocates orders to riders based on their proximity to the restaurant, and uses machine learning to identify a rider’s familiarity with a neighbourhood to further optimise delivery efficiency. Restaurants also have the option of using a proprietary GPS tracker developed by Sparse, that can be fitted onto bikes.

Commenting on the acquisition, Deepinder Goyal, Zomato’s co-founder and CEO stated in the blog post that, “Joining forces with Sparse Labs will allow us to significantly improve the food ordering experience on the app, by giving users real-time GPS-based status updates on their order. While we were already working on making this feature available for deliveries handled by our logistics partners, Sparse Labs will now help us enable delivery tracking for restaurant-owned fleets as well.”

At the restaurant end, this technology will help make deliveries highly cost- and time-efficient, allowing them to optimise delivery routes and ensuring minimal wait time for riders.

“Sparse Labs will be renamed as Zomato Trace, and we will be rolling out the service free of cost to our restaurant partners very soon,” mentioned Deepinder.

In July 2016, Zomato also joined hands with HelpChat to make the food ordering experience simpler and faster for consumers. Zomato acquired nine startups across the globe in 2015 including MaplePOS, Urbanspoon, Mekanist, Cibando Ltd, MenuMania, Lunchtime, Obedovat, Gastronauci and NexTable. In April this year, it also announced the launch of its cloud-based point of sale product for restaurants under Zomato Base.

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