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27 January, 2019 - 16:12 By Tony Quested

US VCs drive $32.3m global expansion round for Cambridge fraudbuster Featurespace

Massive global expansion for Cambridge UK fraud detection and risk management business Featurespace has been underpinned by a $32.3 million funding round led by two US VC funds anchored in New York and Philadelphia.

The new round takes Featurespace’s fundraising to $70.5m since launch in 2008. The Series F was led by Insight Venture Partners, a New York-based global private equity and venture capital firm focused on high-growth investments in the technology sector, and MissionOG, a Philadelphia-based VC firm with significant operational and investment experience across the financial services and payments industries.

The round also included further funding from existing investors including IP Group plc, Highland Europe, TTV Capital, Cambridge angel and serial entrepreneur Robert Sansom and Invoke Capital, Mike Lynch’s European technology fund based in Cambridge.

The money will be used to support Featurespace’s international expansion and continued development of the company’s software capabilities. The company continues to hire fast on both sides of the Atlantic with scores of jobs to fill to meet demand for the capabilities Featurespace is delivering based on Cambridge University IP.

Featurespace CEO, Martina King says the company has hired 100 new recruits in the last year and despite global expansion, Cambridge would remain the company’s mothership.

The new investment will support the continued distribution of Featurespace’s real-time ARIC™ platform, which uses Adaptive Behavioural Analytics to detect anomalies in individual behaviour for fraud and risk management.

King said: “We have made tremendous progress over the last 15 months since our last fund raising – and this fund raise is the largest to date. The additional funds will enable us to continue rapidly growing the business internationally by focusing on our products, our people and our customers.

“Working very closely with our customers, we have developed a market-leading product to meet their fraud detection and prevention requirements. We have also significantly strengthened our senior management team and operational infrastructure, and opened an office in Atlanta, Georgia.

“And we have grown our financial services customer base and now are working with 17 banks across continental Europe, the UK, US and Latin America. “Equally important, we have become the technology partner of choice to a number of payment processors and merchant acquirers that have embedded our real-time fraud prevention technology in their anti-fraud solutions.”

The company’s big-money US backers are excited about the prospects for Featurespace. Jeff Horing, co-founder and managing director at Insight Venture Partners, said: “We have been following Featurespace’s growth for over two years.

“Following extensive customer and product due diligence, we were delighted with market feedback around the product and team. We welcome Featurespace into our portfolio and look forward to helping the company drive international growth.”

And Gene Lockhart, chairman and managing partner at MissionOG, echoed: “Martina King, David Excell and team have built a dynamic culture that has led to a well-defined and successful market focus.

“Their efforts are evidenced by strong sales momentum with notable clients in various segments, including multinational banks, payments companies, issuer processors and merchant acquirers. “We’re excited to partner with Featurespace and introduce our network and platform to continue to drive value and growth.”

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