Quantexa creates an innovative context-based business intelligence platform
Financial crime pays off. EY estimates that the annual cost of money laundering and related crimes ranges from $ 1.4 trillion to $ 3.5 trillion. To counter it, financial institutions around the world will spend an estimated $ 213.9 billion in 2021 on financial crime detection, up from $ 180.9 billion the year before, according to Lexis-Nexis.
One company, Quantexa, is working to improve these statistics.
Founded in 2016, the London-based company’s platform connects internal and external data sets to provide a single, intelligence-enriched view of the relationships between people, places and organizations. “Our platform dynamically generates the context necessary to automate millions of operational decisions, at scale, across multiple business units, including anti-money laundering, fraud, credit risk and customer intelligence.” , said founder and CEO Vishal Marria.
Marria saw first-hand the challenges of identifying potential frauds and credit risks when working at EY as the EMEA Compliance IT Practice Leader, advising large organizations and banks subject to scrutiny. regulatory. “I saw people trying to decide if a client was a criminal or potentially displayed criminal patterns by looking at siled data. An alert will trigger from the system in one form or another. They will look at the last six to twelve months from various systems and try to pull the information together, ”says Marria.
He felt the process was flawed as it took an enormous amount of time to investigate each alert, a process that could take anywhere from four to five hours, with 80% of that time spent discussing the data, gathering the data manually. Additionally, he saw that the process was inefficient because investigators lacked key connections between data because it was human and prone to even well-intentioned errors.
“Wait, surely if I turn the problem around, you will be more efficient and effective by connecting all the data I can, applying the AI through machine learning, and then giving you that information so you can go away and investigate the problem. And that was the epiphany that came to me in 2015, ”says Marria.
He resigned from the firm in October 2015 and launched Quantexa in March 2016 to turn his epiphany into a business. From the start, Marria says the company was founded by recruiting people he trusted and considered to be the best at what they do, bringing in co-founder, product manager Imam Hoque and CTO Jamie Hutton. They quickly assembled a team that created the software that reduced the time it took to investigate an alert from hours to minutes.
“But within my capabilities, what I started doing as well when creating Quantexa was to focus on the detection layer. So if you look at some of the more complex businesses like trade finance, global banking, and markets, they’re pretty complex businesses. They are not like a simple retail checking account or a retail card, they are more complex in nature. A rules-based system is simply ineffective at catching these kinds of criminals, so you need a new approach, ”says Marria.
This new approach has created a company that now serves seven of the twenty largest organizations in the world, with more than 8,000 end users on the platform. “I work in the areas of financial crime, credit risk and customer intelligence. Because when you build that context, I can definitely identify the high risk, but I can also tell you who your good customers are, who are your good prospects. It is almost the reversal of the objective. And I have proven that this is the case and that I have disseminated this information to relationship managers and policy underwriters, for example, ”says Marria.
According to Marria, Quantexa is the only software product in the world capable of performing large-scale multiple variable entity resolution, both in batch and in real time. As a result, the company is growing rapidly, has 352 employees with offices in Toronto, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney beyond its headquarters in London. And after starting the business with $ 250,000 of its own money, the company raised $ 88 million in venture capital from Evolution Equity Partners, Future Fifty, Dawn Capital, Albion VC and HSBC.
The platform’s open architecture is another key to its success, enabling the company to create an ecosystem of vendor solutions that work in concert with Quantexa, explains Marria. “I designed Quantexa to be transparent. These are all open box analyzes, this is open box entity resolution. Our vision from the start is that all organizations have the capacity to leverage their data to uncover hidden risks and uncover new opportunities. To use the data wisely in real world problems, ”says Marria.
While he has spent many years with large organizations like EY and SAS, Marria says entrepreneurship is in his DNA. “My father came to the UK from India in 1961. He ran his own business. My mom and dad worked together seven days a week, eight to seven. They were incredibly successful and all of my siblings went into the family business. I was the only son who didn’t join the family business, ”says Marria.
After earning his Masters in Information Security from Royal Holloway, University of London, he went to work for Detica (later acquired by BAE Systems) where he was instrumental in the development of their NetReveal product. “It was really at Detica that I started to learn how to create technology,” says Marria. He then joined SAS where he led the sales, pre-sales and subject matter teams in the Advanced Analytics business unit across the EMEA and AP region. “And that’s when I was recruited to join EY, to work in IT compliance,” Marria continues.
Quantex has expanded significantly to other industry sectors outside of finance and beyond the UK, working with government, telecommunications, and oil and gas organizations around the world. “Understanding your customer, understanding your customer’s customer, understanding prospects applies to every industry in the world. My target market is as big as big data analytics, ”says Marria.
As for the future? Marria says he would like to go public and is putting the governance process in place to get there, although no timeframe has been provided. “Here at Quantexa, I have an amazing advisory board that has considerable experience with public companies. I want to take ownership of contextual decision-making, ”concludes Marria.