KlearNow exists to solve one problem; the inefficiency of customs clearance.
We’re a tech startup based in California. Last year we raised $16m at Series A.
Millions of shipments are moved around the world every day. Large portions of the logistics industry have been slow to adopt new technology. Customs clearance, an essential element of the global supply chain, therefore attracts a disproportionate amount of time, effort and money.
It is an extremely inefficient and error prone, silo system and workflow process. Most consumers probably don’t realise that the products they enjoy which come from abroad will have been subject to a clearance process that relies extremely heavily on manual data entry.
And for the UK, now that it has left the EU, the number of customs entries will increase five-fold
Our goal is to simplify the customs clearance process and help our customs save money, time and resources. Thus we created the first customs business network that connects importers and freight forwarders with customs brokers and agents while integrating seamlessly with customs authorities, providing ease of customs clearance and full transparency of the logistics process.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
We wanted to create an elegant, technical solution to the inefficiencies of global supply chains that users could access from anywhere in the world, at any time and connect multiple parties and promote data share and collaboration to conduct the customs clearance business. In other words, wanted to bring to customs clearance what Uber brought to the transportation business.
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How has the need for KlearNow evolved during the pandemic?
The pandemic presented a lot of unforeseeable challenges and I think supply chain managers did a good job mitigating many of those. But with that said, it was entirely predictable that any disruption to global supply chains would highlight the glaring inefficiencies in border and customs processes. The manual data entry part of customs clearance was directly impacted by Covid and KlearNow provided a great workaround for remote work from home.
KlearNow is fundamentally about making things simpler and faster, to save users time, money and resources. Our customers found that using KlearNow helped them recoup time that they’d lost by responding to the challenges of the pandemic, and to reallocate valuable resources to more pressing matters. On the other hand, our agents and brokers saw tremendous gain in time, money and resource efficiency using the automated AI based platform that took non-structured documents and made them structured to conduct customs business.
KlearNow wasn’t designed for a supply chain crisis situation, but the efficiencies it delivers certainly played a role in helping our customers through the turbulence. When business processes are disrupted, finding efficiencies is essential.
What can we hope to see from KlearNow in the future?
Solving Brexit friction will be our immediate focus for 2021. We’ve deliberately timed our UK launch so we can be ready to help businesses in the UK navigate the inevitable friction that comes from exiting the EU. In practical terms, leaving the EU exposes so many businesses to the complexities of customs clearance. Those that only ever traded with the EU may be aware that the rules have changed, but completely unprepared for the degree of friction they’ll experience with customs clearance. Later this year we will roll-out imports and exports from the EU providing a seamless transaction for UK traders to trade with the EU.
It’s obvious there simply aren’t enough staff employed at UK borders to handle the increase in workload brought about by Brexit.
UK borders are short-handed to the tune of about 50,000 staff and there will be an anticipated five-fold increase in customs entries with Brexit leading to as many 200 million extra customs entries.”
Our fear is that this will quickly lead to a two-tier system with priority given to larger importers who spend more on landing their goods at the expense of smaller businesses and their customers.