Every year there’s a recurring scandal in the media. A trendy startup advertises using AI, and then there’s a leak and journalists find out that workers in India mark videos for a dollar per hour. The community boils, the startup’s PR team goes defensive and talk about training samples. Some believe the accusers, others trust the startup, but nobody argues the point: robots good, humans bad. The AI doesn’t need to see the client’s documents.
American startup of the day Ocrolus declares the issue as its main advantage. The service solves a typical AI task, it deciphers documents. A bank transfers scans of IDs or extracts via API, and the startup returns the data in numeric format so that it can be entered into the database. The product is by far not unique on the market. There are plenty of competing solutions, we might as well remember the Russian dBrain. The accuracy is most probably about the same with all services. So, to highlight themselves in this kind of background, Ocrolus says it out loud: ‘We have humans involved in our process.’ And they claim it to be their seal of excellence. Everybody heard after those scandals, that humans work better than machines – so here, we have those, there will be less error.
Ocrolus is super successful, after the recent round its value is half a billion dollars. Betting on humans is hardly the reason for such a victorious course of events, but it is one of the factors contributing to the overall efficiency, considering it’s still in use. This approach can be applied in other directions, too. If everyone scolds taxi operators and airlines for their unfairness and lack of transparency when it comes to price formation, then your aggregator can turn it into a specialty: ‘we charge a little more from those who can afford it to decrease the prices for those who need it.’
#technology #megaround #usa #crm
Translation: Kostiantyn Tupikov
Alexander made his career in Russian internet companies including Mail.Ru, Rambler, RBC. From 2016 to 2018 he was Chief Strategy and Analytics officer in Mail.Ru Group. In this position, he worked on M&A, investments, and new project launches. In 2018 he became Deputy CEO in Citymobil, a Russian Uber-like company that was invested by Mail.Ru Group and Sberbank (the biggest Russian bank), then he left the company to launch his own projects. Now Alexander is a co-founder of United Investors – the platform for co-investments in Russian early-stage startups. His blog #startupoftheday (#стартапдня) is one of the most popular blogs about startups in Russia.