MUMBAI: Zomato, one of India's biggest internet companies, has acquired cloud-based data firm MaplePOS to help its restaurant partners manage business better as it expands from reviews into online orders and payments, a top executive said on Tuesday.
Zomato, present in 22 countries including the United States, said MaplePOS, renamed "Zomato Base", would provide a database of customer details. It will also help restaurants with menu and inventory management, and has a built-in payment solution to accept debit and credit card payments.
"We are getting into table reservations and online ordering, so you need a very strong hold into the tech that our users need," Chief Executive Deepinder Goyal told Reuters.
Investing in technology is an important part of internet based companies' growth as they chase users who are increasingly looking for smoother transactions on their smartphones.
Zomato, backed by private equity investors including Sequoia Capital and India's Info Edge India Ltd, said the new product would also help restaurants generate e-receipts and track inventory, according to Zomato's website.
Goyal did not reveal how much Zomato paid for the purchase, but said the company was rolling out a pilot for online ordering on Tuesday and would expand it to all Indian users by next week.
The company will start its online ordering services with around 4,000 restaurant partners, aiming to take that to over 10,000 in India eventually.
Zomato currently has 60,000 restaurant partners in India, the company said.
The startup, valued at around $1 billion, has invested outside India, buying U.S.-based rival Urbanspoon for about $50 million in one of the biggest overseas deals by an Indian startup. However, within India, the company has seen growing competition from global rival Foodpanda, which already offers online ordering and payment options to users.
Foodpanda, backed by Rocket Internet, bought smaller rival TastyKhana in November and raised $110 million in March. Analysts say this has put pressure on Zomato to ensure users stick to its app.
Goyal said the company was investing in technology to make sure online transactions were glitch free by arming restaurants with iPads so they could accept orders and do away with a call centre, which accounted for delays.
"About 40 percent of orders placed online currently don't reach customers. We are making sure there is no glitch," Goyal said.