The Silicon Review recognized Featurespace, the world leader in Enterprise Financial Crime Prevention, as one of its 50 Smartest Companies of The Year.

Dave Excell, Founder and President of Featurespace, spoke with The Silicon Review to discuss the problems it solves and its dedication to making the world a safer place for its clients and their customers:


Can you tell us about your services in brief?

Featurespace is the world leader in Enterprise Financial Crime prevention for fraud and Anti-Money Laundering. We created the ARIC™ platform, a real-time machine learning software that risk scores events in more than 180 countries, to prevent fraud and financial crime. ARIC Risk Hub uses advanced, explainable anomaly detection to enable financial institutions to automatically identify risk, catch new fraud attacks, and identify suspicious activity in real-time. More than 30 major global financial institutions use ARIC to protect their business, and their customers, including five leading banks in the U.K. Some of our publicly announced customers include HSBC, TSYS, Worldpay, RBS NatWest Group, Contis, Danske Bank, ClearBank, Permanent TSB and Betfair.


Where do you think enterprise financial crime systems are lacking, and how is your company filling the void?

Incumbent fraud systems rely on understanding past attacks and spotting similar patterns but cannot detect anomalies and new attacks with the same speed and accuracy as an adaptive machine learning solution. We have a unique position in that we have a truly global perspective of payments, covering issuing, acquiring, non-plastics and financial crime. By combining our proprietary Adaptive Behavioral Analytics and anomaly detection, ARIC’s unique approach continually updates and adapts against discreet subtleties. This allows the platform to target fraudulent and risky activity more precisely based on what it has learned and automatically identifies risk and catches new and known attacks. ARIC understands the context of normal behavior for each individual. Instead of focusing on bad behaviors, the system looks for anomalies in normal, good behaviors so that even the slightest anomalies are recognized, highlighting when an individual is acting out of character.


Perception and reality must coincide with financial crime risk management. How do you know if the attack is probable?

While it’s impossible to know where the next threat is going to come from, it’s an undeniable inevitability that every organization should be prepared. We identify fraud in real time, as the attack occurs, enabling our clients to shift from writing rules in their systems after the attack to blocking threats as they take place. ARIC is innovative in assessing risk from both “in-session” online behavioral data and transactional data, spotting suspicious activity indicators before the point of transaction.


There are other players in this vertical. How do you distinguish yourself from the rest?

ARIC Risk Hub is driven by the best performing models in the industry, which are self-learning and run within the platform, while in production, and do not require retuning with updated training data. This allows our customers to identify new fraud patterns and strategies in real time, create machine learning models without coding knowledge and test rules against historical data and test rules against live data. Another critical differentiator is our customer service, and we’ve built our reputation in the industry by having strong relationships and maintaining our focus on meeting their needs. We combine our expertise with a people-first approach – innovation and being customer-focused are central to our success and growth. We also actively seek feedback as often as possible to ensure we are surprising and delighting our customers. For example, we recently conducted a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey and received a 67, which is well-above the industry standard of excellence.


How efficient is your expertise? Do you have qualified individuals who can keep your service standards up and running?

Our technology is backed by more than 30 years of academic research, and the performance and results of our models provide our clients with valid proof and confidence that our innovation helps them fight fraud and money laundering faster and more effectively than any other system on the market, while also giving them more control over preventing risk. To maintain this ability, we hire for intellect and values, as well as the contribution our employees can make on behalf of our customers. To ensure our product stays cutting edge and at the forefront of the industry, we actively hire market experts from the field and some of the brightest academics.


What are your future plans for the development of your company?

We’re focused on our mission to risk score every transaction on the planet. We will continue investing in our team to stay ahead of the criminals and protect those most vulnerable to fraudulent attacks. We’re constantly striving for perfection and regularly evaluate and enhance our platform based on customer and partner input. To support Featurespace’s continued commitment to global growth, despite a difficult economic climate, we raised $37.4 million (£30 million) in May 2020. We recently expanded into Singapore, Australia, and the greater Asia Pacific region, while also growing our presence in existing markets by expanding our customer base and partnerships.

Click here to see The Silicon Review’s 50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2020