​Robinhood partners with Google Cloud and MFEC to build Thailand’s first “super app”

Alliance aims to modernise IT infrastructure, elevate user experience levels and co-create new digital services.

Robinhood has entered into a multi-year strategic alliance with Google Cloud and MFEC to build a homegrown “super app” that delivers growth opportunities to small business owners, delivery riders, and diverse users in metro and non-metro areas across Thailand.

The Bangkok-based food delivery and all-in-one travel service platform -- which was developed by Purple Ventures and operates under SCBX Group -- hopes the alliance will strengthen the company's "culture of innovation" while modernising internal IT infrastructure, elevating user experience levels using data-driven intelligence and co-creating new digital services.

April Srivikorn, country manager of Thailand at Google Cloud, outlined that the pandemic has resulted in food and transport, e-commerce, online travel, and digital financial services becoming “key growth verticals in a resurgent internet economy that’s set to be worth US$57 billion by 2025".

“By investing in talent development and tapping the best of Google Cloud, Google Maps, and Google Play to scale sustainably, innovate at high velocity, and extend its social enterprise model into new verticals, Robinhood is well on its way toward delivering a world-class super app that meets diverse digital lifestyle needs and unlocks growth opportunities for all,” she noted.

The alliance will encompass five pillars. Firstly, to foster an agile culture across Robinhood’s business units and accelerate product innovation, with a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE) consisting of cloud architecture, data management, and application modernisation specialists set to be established.

Robinhood staff can be equipped to handle large-scale cloud deployments and apply artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to solve high impact business challenges with the CCoE’s up-skilling and certification programs, which incorporates the same curriculum that Google Cloud uses to train its own technologists.

Secondly, the quality of digital services is to be enhanced by migrating core systems onto Google Cloud’s infrastructure, and the CCoE will tap microservices and extended Google Play Store support for Robinhood’s customer and rider applications even as new services are added and accessed by a high volume of users.

Thirdly, to serve hyper-personalised user engagement, the CCoE will build and manage an intelligent data engine using Google Cloud’s analytics, AI, and ML technologies that delivers product recommendations on behalf of small businesses to boost these merchants’ revenue streams.

Next, Robinhood will explore using Google Maps Platform’s software development kits to fast track the creation and integration of on-demand mobility features. Potential use cases include providing riders with in-app, turn-by-turn navigation after identifying the shortest or fastest routes, so they can ride safer, fulfil orders quicker, and earn more. 

Users of Robinhood’s delivery services will have real-time visibility of their riders’ position, route, traffic conditions, and ETA, which translates to fewer customer support requests and order cancellations.

Lastly, Robinhood will explore co-innovation initiatives with Google Cloud to embed virtual banking and micro-lending services into its application. This would allow small business owners to apply for financial assistance to purchase new equipment and hire staff, or for prospective delivery riders to rent electric motorcycles.

Siriwat Vongjarukorn, CEO and president of Google Cloud partner MFEC, lauded the combined effort “in advancing the ambitions of homegrown enterprises like Robinhood".

“With our newly formed CCoE imparting critical cloud skills, adopting an open cloud architecture, implementing data governance best practices, and automating application deployment," he added.

"Robinhood can achieve performance at scale, optimise IT costs, uphold the highest data security and privacy standards, and empower its developers to release continuous software updates – without downtime – to enrich its entire digital ecosystem."

Meanwhile, Thana Thienachariya, chairman at Purple Ventures, cited the opportunity to generate revenue with Robinhood’s differentiated business model that does not erode the earnings of sellers on the platform.

“With a fleet of 30,000 riders supporting 225,000 eateries, and 16,000 hotels already listed on our platform, Robinhood has become the food and travel application of choice for 2.8 million users," Thienachariya outlined.

"Together with Google Cloud and MFEC, we hope to build on the very warm response to our platform in the past 20 months and supercharge our expansion into tour, car rental, and flight bookings, and grocery and express parcel delivery services. This super app vision is an extension of our steadfast commitment toward assisting smaller players and revitalising the grassroots economy."

Srihanath Lamsam, CEO of Purple Ventures, reflected that with increased consumer demand, the cloud-native platform needed “more performant infrastructure” to “grow in a cost efficient and sustainable way".

“We chose Google for its superior data cloud infrastructure – one that runs with net zero operational emissions, and its rich experience in mapping the world and building open platforms and ecosystems," Lamsam said.

"These capabilities, along with MFEC’s technical consulting and implementation expertise, will amplify our ability to create value for society, while contributing toward our sustainability commitments."