Willson Cross, CEO & Co-Founder of Borderless AI – Interview Series

Willson Cross is the CEO and Co-Founder of Borderless AI, an enterprise at the forefront of pioneering the application of artificial intelligence in global human resources.

Under his leadership, Borderless AI is developing as the world’s first company to introduce a dedicated AI agent for Global HR. This proprietary AI agent, named Alberni, employs conversational AI to manage a wide range of tasks such as generating international employment agreements, automating global expense reimbursements, and tracking time requests among other HR functions.

Prior to your work at Borderless AI, you dropped out of New York University to start a company called GoFetch. Could you discuss these early days of launching your first company, and how you eventually exited?

After my third year at New York University, I dropped out to start a passion project that quickly turned into a profession — GoFetch. The company was born due to the lack of technological advancements within the pet industry, similar to Borderless AI and HR. For example, there was an Airbnb or Uber for pretty much everything at the time, except for pets. GoFetch was like an Uber for dogs and, later on, became much more. Think of it as an online marketplace for people to buy and sell pet care services, including pet sitting, dog boarding, and dog walking. We raised $3.5M+ and grew the team to 45 employees before selling the business in 2018.

What were some of your key takeaways from this entrepreneurial experience?

I learned that picking the right market is one of the most critical jobs you can have as a CEO and founder and that you must be willing to take big bets.

Could you share the genesis story behind your newest startup Borderless AI?

I knew the HR space was in need of something innovative and game-changing, especially amid the backdrop of a global pandemic when location didn’t matter for employers or employees. But it couldn’t be something that, in five years, wouldn’t make a difference for these organizations. After researching, I found that there is approximately $1 billion of added revenue annually in the Employer of Record (EOR) industry. Yet, even with the strong customer demand in this category, the customer journey has not been touched by AI. Given the frustrations my co-founder, Sean Aggarwal, and I have had in building international teams over our careers, we wanted to change that with the launch of Borderless AI.

What are the problems with onboarding, managing, and paying international team members that Borderless AI is solving?

Borderless AI is enabling growth in businesses — whether it’s helping speed up processes that previously took days or even months or solving the mundane and semi-automated tasks that go into onboarding and paying international employees. As more companies adopt AI technology and realize the potential of their organization through global expansion that wasn’t possible before, there will be more interest in AI agents, resulting in increased investment in the space and allowing for continued growth and innovation. We’re bringing economic empowerment to the world by removing geographic barriers and democratizing access to the best job opportunities for talented people around the globe with our AI agent, Alberni.

How does Alberni, your AI agent, revolutionize the way HR tasks are traditionally managed?

Removing stressors such as compliance or tax laws of the past, AI is revolutionizing the way we do work —  an important need for the distributed global workforce and employers looking to scale quickly. It does so using GenAI to streamline the entire background check experience for businesses and international employees alike. More specifically, Borderless AI can solve international employment law challenges while accelerating geographic expansion and ensuring compliance in hiring processes.  For example, Alberni can solve complex problems and automate processes in any country worldwide within minutes (vs. the normal 7-10 business day timeframe), such as generating employment agreements in minutes, automating employee onboarding tasks, time-off requests, and cross-border payroll efficiency.

In automating the global HR stack, how does Borderless AI ensure that the technology remains accurate and free from errors, such as “hallucinations” often associated with AI?

We’ve partnered with Cohere to ensure the technology remains accurate. We’ve been able to leverage the power of RAG by augmenting Cohere’s large language models with Borderless AI’s proprietary data, such as HR knowledge and employment law, to perform specific tasks and provide knowledge to customers quickly, efficiently and compliantly.

Borderless AI leverages conversational AI to streamline complex HR tasks. Could you give us a practical example of how Alberni simplifies a traditionally time-consuming HR process?

We’re using AI to automate many aspects, such as onboarding international employees, automating the creation of their agreements and accelerating payment times and expense reimbursements. Generative AI can reduce tasks that now take days to minutes. For example, hiring an employee in Sweden typically requires finding a local lawyer to create an employment agreement, which takes five to ten business days and costs up to $8,000.

The rise of vertical-specific AI solutions is becoming more prevalent. How does Borderless AI’s approach to HR compare to similar innovations in other industries like legal and customer service?

Taking a verticalized AI approach, Borderless is doing for the HR industry what Harvey is doing in the legal space and Sierra is doing in the customer service realm — we’re helping draw attention to the critical need for AI agents across verticals.  With an increased demand in technologies that help companies navigate complex issues that arise from hiring international team members, such as employment agreements and employee tax forms, Borderless AI’s technology is a key differentiator in the EOR market, accelerating the future of work and allowing companies to understand complex queries that previously took days or weeks to navigate.

Cost management and transparency are crucial for businesses. How does Borderless AI’s model provide a cost-effective solution for international hiring?

Borderless AI’s model helps save money and time in the long run. For example, HR professionals generally need to go to a law firm or their legal department and wait days, in turn spending thousands of dollars in budget on getting an employment agreement for an employee in a new country. Instead, by leveraging conversational AI, the same HR professional can now generate a compliant employment agreement within minutes by interfacing with an AI agent. Instead of waiting 5-10 days and spending upwards of $10,000 for an international labor lawyer to draft an employment agreement, Alberni will do so in minutes.

Additionally, our pricing is set at $579 per employee per month and is in line with market standards. We also give away many Alberni features for free.

Offering localized benefits is a significant aspect of Borderless AI’s service. How do you customize benefits packages for employees in different countries?

We offer international employees health benefits using a global health benefits provider. We have three tiers of offerings: Silver, Gold and Platinum. The Borderless team offers guidance for our customers in selecting the package based on their team’s unique needs. To ensure that our customers are able to offer a custom-fit package to their team, depending on the country, we also offer additional benefits through our partnerships with local benefits providers.

Thank you for the great interview, readers who wish to learn more should visit Borderless AI.

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