“Nothing moves without the right data,” warns its CEO Martyn Noble who is currently seeking £3 million of growth capital, an addition to the £5 million backing already invested in the Northampton-based company.
Global e-commerce sales are predicted to be worth £5 trillion by 2022 with 22 per cent of those being cross-border. The prizes have never been more glittering, but the pressure on companies to get their compliance right has never been greater either.
Hurricanes’ software services through intermediaries such as e-commerce and multi carrier platforms, logistics operators and postal operators are forecast to deliver a £13 million turnover next year.
“If products don’t have that right data they get stuck in customs causing delays which cost time, money and opportunities,” Noble, former head of music tech startup Crowdsurge, explains.
“No business can afford the huge fines and bans that can result. Increasing regulation is happening, whether that is the EU, the US or elsewhere in the world. Firms must be compliant.”
Spotting the massive changes coming down the track, Noble co-founded Hurricane in 2016 with ex-DPD executive David Spottiswood and a team of top experts in the parcels, logistics and compliance industries.
Their aim was precise: to create bespoke technology in-house to meet existing and future market needs.
Today Hurricane employs 30 staff internationally offering tech that integrates seamlessly into any platform or website with front end services for retailers and back end ones for postal firms, making these more competitive against private rivals, and logistics providers.
At its smart core is Bluestone, the company’s artificial intelligence deep learning platform.
Capable of understanding detailed product language and nuances, it instantly matches them against the most appropriate customs commodity description and its key classification system or HS6 code.
Transactions are processed at lightning speed – in a range of 80 to 120 milliseconds compared to the standard rate of 200 milliseconds.
Duty and tax calculations, the screening of prohibited and restricted goods and denied parties screening, ensuring goods aren’t sent to people on a banned list, are handled by the computing interface Aura.
Its fast and furious counterpart Zephyr deals with the advance work. “This is the game-changer,” declares Noble. “With it we have taken a new approach to a real world problem, enabling the efficient checking and completion of cross-border pre-advices submitted to postal authorities by retailers and marketplaces.
“Customers don’t get a ‘calling card’ shock of being asked to pay more on the doorstep and it avoids millions of parcels being caught at customs, crucial where Asia is concerned.”
While other providers offer one of Hurricane’s services, “no-one else brings it all together in one set of solutions in real time in a market where everything moves so fast in ever-increasing volumes,” he explains.
Tax reliefs such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme and R&D tax credits have played a critical role in Hurricane’s success.
“These make UK as good a place as anywhere to start a tech or life sciences business,” adds Noble.
“But building a cutting-edge tech business does not happen overnight. Now the planets are aligning in our favour.”