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Serving up Inventory Solutions With Drones

Hungarian startup Aeriu innovates the way inventory management is carried out via drones, with interest on the rise for its solutions. The Budapest Business Journal asked Aeriu CEO Gergely Ellenrieder about the project.

“Ecommerce is booming, which is a great thing. This is a story where the pie is getting bigger every year. The problem is that the way we cook this pie has not changed. We still cook it in the same old-fashioned way,” ponders Ellenrieder.

“Human error and inefficiency are something that Aeriu removes by working with modern drones.” The CEO also noted that the service developed in the last two years is based on customer needs, as companies seek methods for making their inventory management more effective.

The key to Aeriu’s simple and safe solution to the problem is that the drones it uses are not specialized aircraft, but the ones you can find on shop shelves, Ellenrieder notes.  

“Behind the actual drones themselves is a data collection system with an AI module that makes it simple to collect data to identify what the existing inventory situation of the company is. And all the data that we get from this AI module is saved in a secure cloud-based platform, which automates the whole data measurement process; it really is an easily managed and simple-to-use system that anybody with a couple of hours of training can use,” he adds.

Saving Costs

Two advantages drones offer is saving costs, while making the job easier.

“It effectively replaces up to two full-time workers yearly, who normally would be used to complete inventory management functions. There is an initial HR cost saving that comes from not having to replace hard-to-find employees, and it actually creates a more attractive work environment for the workers,” Ellenrieder says.

“The energy savings you get come from the better use of the forklift [typically used for accessing stock labels in the highest parts of the warehouse]; you also actually get better stock accuracy using the system, which lowers the returns and the number of unhappy customers.”

There are a number of benefits on the operational side as well, as the inventory management process is five times faster, and “you actually don’t have to find forklift operators, which we know is currently hard especially in Hungary; you increase the quality of the whole process, which results in higher customer satisfaction; and it actually enables much more prompt safety checks,” Ellenrieder adds.

Currently, Aeriu has a five-person team based in London and Budapest. The CEO notes that the members (László Szili, Ádám Mocskay, Bertalan Eck, and Márton Kelemen) have known each other for nearly a decade, with some of those connections originating in high school. The team have since gathered experience at firms such as Morgan Stanley, Nestlé, and Siemens.

Aeriu is already experiencing success on the market, attracting interest from buyers and investors alike.

“We validated our software with great companies from different industries; we have ten industrial companies interested in our solution. We have a market-fit with paying customers, and we also have our first investor. We have a cooperation agreement with the University of Pannonia and existing frame work agreement with a hardware reseller,” Ellenrieder adds.  

Currently, Aeriu is working on moving its service from manual drone control to automatic operation, and is looking for further investors and business partners at gergely.ellenrieder@aeriu.co.

Startup spotlight is a monthly column dedicated to giving Hungarian startups and early stage companies much needed exposure. If you know of a business the BBJ should highlight, send us the details in English to bence.gaal@bbj.hu