ASIA – Milk and grocery delivery startup Milkbasket plans to expand its engineering team fivefold to 100 in the next nine months and set up a new research and development (R&D) centre, ET Retail reports.

The development will enable the Gurgaon-based firm recommend users to products that they order frequently through machine learning.

The R&D centre will house the entire engineering team, including members working on data science, product and design disciplines.

Engineering team will provide expertise in the automation domain, including machine learning and AI, to create an advanced customer experience.

“The R&D centre will drive technical strategy to transform user experience and shape how customers purchase products on the Milkbasket platform.

AI will be at the core of Milkbasket’s transformation from a tech-enabled to a tech-led organisation,” added Goel.

The company plans to invest more than US$2 million in building its competency in emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and big data to complement it new technologies.

“In the near future, the interfaces that we have known till date will alter and become more integrated in the user journey. Machine learning and AI will be integral to this,” said Milkbasket CEO Anant Goel.

“Our plans to strengthen our engineering team is very aggressive.

We plan to invest over US$2 million and increase the headcount 4X-5X over the next six to nine months.

This is inherent to our growth and creates a formidable advantage over the competition.”

The company has a workforce of over 300 people across functions, with a majority in supply chain and last-mile logistics, according to ET Retail.

In February this year, the company said it plans to hire at least 2,000 employees within the next 12-18 months with a goal to serve over a million households by 2022.

It recently raised US$7 million in a Series A round of funding led by Kalaari Capital, alongside existing investors Unilever Ventures and Blume Ventures.