You just got home after a long commute from work, and you’re starving. The pantry’s empty — you didn’t get around to buying groceries — so you fire up a food delivery app and hop over to a list of favorites. You’re in the mood for something different, but you’re stuck with indecision; what if you order something you end up disliking?
Los Angeles-based startup Halla aims to solve that problem once and for all with Halla I/O (which stands for “intelligent ordering”), a platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to generate Netflix-like recommendations for grocery, restaurant, and food delivery apps and websites.
“We use psychographics and data to predict your preferences and cravings at any given moment,” CEO and cofounder Spencer Price told VentureBeat in an interview, “and we apply predictive analytics and AI to taste and flavor attributes to gain an understanding of the food itself.”
To do that, Halla’s algorithms tap a proprietary database of more than 10,000 grocery items, 20,000 ingredients, 175,000 recipes, and 20 million restaurant dishes. They take into account the ingredients (and even the molecular makeup) of dishes and recipes, building a taxonomic map of attributes like flavor, appearance, and dietary appeal.
Here’s a concrete example: Say you love chicken sandwiches. Basic machine learning models might infer that you aren’t opposed to, say, chicken piccata, but Halla I/O considers the bigger picture. It recognizes that your preference for a chicken sandwich likely isn’t just about the type of protein, but about the bread, the toppings, and the…