(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) HI-TRAC
The author's shorthand for Happiness Index, Infrastructure, Talent, Regulations, Access and Capital. The six pillars that make UAE a great place for a startup. This week's article is about a startup that is drawing on talent from across the world.
According to a report by BIS Research, titled Global Anti-Money Laundering Software Market - Analysis and Forecast, 2017-2023, the global Anti-Money Laundering (AML) software market was estimated to be $690.1 million in 2016 and is expected to grow over $1.42 billion by 2023. The growth in the AML software market is driven primarily by the strong advocacy and adoption of digital payments and account management.
At the same time, globally regulators are demanding increasing levels of compliance requirements from financial institutions. The focus is on monitoring suspicious transactions as well as analysis of historical consumer data for risk management.
So why is compliance with regulations important? A 2017 report from the Washington, DC-based Global Financial Integrity think tank estimated that the turnover of 11 primary illicit markets is $1.6 trillion to $2.2 trillion annually. Illicit markets include the narcotics trade, unofficial mining and unlicensed logging. Attempts are made to move the funds coming from these operations into the banking system so that legitimate investments can be made in assets and businesses. More information is available in the International Monetary Fund report The Terror-Crime Nexus, published in September 2017.
Working behind the scenes to support this nexus are enterprises that provide falsified identification and credentials via the Deep Web. A report from Trendmicro suggests that there are at least six cybercriminal ecosystems spread across the globe that are actively engaged in this area. This may all seem a bit bizarre but this is a reality that regulators, banks, financial institutions and people have to deal with.
The older methods of detection such as pattern recognition and database matching are not developed or powerful enough to deal with the complexity and volume that is being demanded of the regulated system.
The company and what it does
Silent Eight (www.silenteight.com) was one of the two winners of the FinTech Abu Dhabi (FinTechAD) Innovation Challenge that was announced during the inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi event, organised by the Abu Dhabi Global Market in October 2017. Silent Eight offers its technology to banks, financial institutions and organisations that require customer screening or transaction monitoring capabilities to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
Martin Markiewicz, CEO and co-founder, is the driving force behind the company's pursuit of artificial intelligence powered solutions for client screening and transaction monitoring. Markiewicz says: "The solutions of Silent Eight are utilised by leading banks for AML and the combating of financial terrorism (CFT)."
The company's proposition is a solution that fully optimises the most time consuming part of banks' due diligence processes - involving many data sources and separate user interfaces that cost the banks.
He started the company with Michael Wilkowski, chief technology officer and Julia Markiewicz, chief revenue officer. Together, their passion for artificial intelligence has helped them put it into action to solve real world problems. For example, Silent Eight intends to improve basic services such as customer name screening, transaction monitoring and payment screening with the world's leading banks by making the investigative process more precise and much quicker than before. They believe that their AI engine makes the process fully scalable, enabling banks to deploy the solution to detect and block real criminal activities. This will help to push crime out of the financial system. The opportunity to make visible and real impact motivates the team relentlessly.
Sustainability and scalability
The company's revenue comes from clients that use their software as a service - mainly banks. They research and evaluate other market gaps where additional revenue can be earned. Since the need for their services is universal, they have started expanding their market presence in Asia, the GCC, Europe and the US. According to Markiewicz, now that they have achieved traction as a business, they are growing by expanding their revenue base geographically. It will be followed by a move to go upmarket with a wider range of solutions aimed at the financial industry.
The talent in the team is varied and broad. Markiewicz, the CEO, is educated in Mathematics. He considers himself to be a natural entrepreneur. He has created startups spanning Europe and Asia, including a successful IPO. He also brings over 16 years of experience in the area. In 2001, he launched his first startup, konsultant.it. Wilkowski has a Master's degree in Information Technology as well as an MBA. He has directed software development at Wola Info (currently Devoteam) as well as at SII - two of Europe's most prominent software houses. He speaks English, Portuguese and Romanian. Julia Markiewicz has a Master's degree in Social Policy. She focuses on innovation, including her own startup, Fabryka Kadr, a leading provider of human resources services. She speaks Chinese, English, Polish and Russian, and she loves to travel and explore new places and cultures.
The CEO says: "The potential of our AI-based solution has not gone unnoticed. We now enjoy the support of leading Venture Capital Funds globally."
The writer is founding partner at BridgeDFS, a bespoke digital financial services advisory firm (www.bridgeto.us). Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy. He can be contacted at .
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