Eurora closes US$3M round bringing AI to e-commerce
Eurora Solutions, an Estonian firm that offers an AI/ML service for cross-border transactions, has raised a $3 million seed round which will help to expand coverage of its e-commerce suite of customs compliance tools across 193 countries.
The seed round was led by Change Ventures which was joined by angels including the founders of Printify, Artis Kehris and Janis Berdigans, and founder of KatanaMRP, Kristjan Vilosius.
Eurora’s AI/ML engine dynamically assigns to e-commerce product transactions an appropriate HS code (standardised numerical method of classifying products), calculates the appropriate VAT and duty amounts, and automatically creates electronic declarations for EU duties and taxes. Eurora can also act as the fiscal representative for all cross-border transactions for non-EU sellers shipping products to EU customers.
According to the company they are already processing over 100,000 e-commerce transactions per day, and volume is expected to increase to over one million transactions per day by the end of 2021. The AI/ML engine has been trained on over 500 million product descriptions, allowing the AI to automatically handle 5000 requests per second with up to 96% accuracy. This is the highest level of accuracy, speed, and automation available on the market.
Changes to EU rules
Eurora’s solution is designed to address the changes in EU trade rules which came into effect on July 1, 2021. The new regulations will increase the number of customs declarations by more than 900% as billions of new declarations must be submitted and processed. All goods entering the EU must be declared in customs and all orders will now be subject to VAT. EU nations are strongly motivated to enforce the new rules as they are expected to result in over € 10 billion in additional tax revenues for member states.
The company’s focus is currently on Chinese platforms which represent over half of the world’s e-commerce volume. It has already on-boarded major clients like UBI and TopYou (largest e-commerce logistics providers in South China), Yanwen (ranked in the top three cross-border e-commerce logistics providers in China), JD.com (one of the largest marketplaces in the World), and AIECOMS (large Association of Chinese cross-border e-commerce businesses). Together they represent over one million Chinese e-commerce companies.
ManageEngine Survey Finds Global AI Use Increase
ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation, has announced results from its recent market study, The 2021 Digital Readiness Survey, finding that 86% of organisations worldwide are using artificial intelligence (AI) more than they did two years ago. However, only 35% of the global respondents reported that their confidence in the technology has significantly increased.
The focus of the study was to understand technological changes in a post-COVID world, in areas such as remote work, security, business analytics, and AI. It was found that organisations worldwide mainly increased their use of AI to improve business analytics (63%), increase operational efficiency (62%) and enhance the customer experience (60%). While a majority of global respondents (94%) believe that AI will meet business expectations—and 65% stated AI had delivered measurable business results—some fears remain around the technology’s performance.
“The potential for AI to improve business efficiency and the customer experience was firmly on show through 2020, with AI handling everything from increased customer service volumes to oversight of self-service processes,” said Rajesh Ganesan, vice president at ManageEngine. “While AI is being handed more responsibility and is applied in more business-critical use cases, our research shows this is a double-edged sword and that more work is needed to embrace the technology and lift internal capability to ensure AI achieves its promise.”
Is business analytics the key to success?
The growing use of AI coincides with a broader trend of using analytics to improve the use of available data and the speed and accuracy of decision-making. In the post-pandemic era, profitability and competition are also driving organisations across the world to invest in business analytics platforms and capabilities.
Business analytics is an umbrella term for several types of analytics—descriptive, diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive.
The biggest user of business analytics by far is IT. An average of 63% of IT departments worldwide cited this in the survey. However, in North America, 67% of executives noted their use of business analytics, which was higher than their IT departments’ use (61%). Business areas such as marketing, sales, human resources, operations and R&D are also showing interest in business analytics but are well behind IT and executives on adoption and actual use.
Other key global findings of the survey
– A mighty 96% of organisations are planning to continue supporting remote workers for the next two years. Concerningly, the report also found that 84% of IT professionals believe that remote workers have increased their enterprise’s security risk.
– More than half (56%) of respondents stated that improving their security infrastructure is a key driver of adopting new technologies.
– 78% of organisations revealed that remote workers download software without obtaining approval from the IT department; this shadow IT mainly included mobile-specific applications (40%), online meeting tools (38%) and document sharing solutions (31%).
– 84% of respondents use more cloud services now than they did before the pandemic began. However, most respondents believe that improved security (56%), performance (52%) and reliability (51%) would increase their company’s confidence in cloud-based solutions.