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10 July, 2022 - 17:30 By Tony Quested

Featurespace leads US fight against burgeoning financial crime

Cambridge-born financial fraud fighter Featurespace has logged amazing growth in the US since launching an office in Atlanta, Georgia, five years ago.

New senior hires and constantly evolving technology have since combined to position the company as a thought leader in the space in a nation witnessing rising enterprise fraud and financial crime allied to increasingly cunning attacks by perpetrators.

For the uninitiated, Featurespace has developed market-leading solutions to fight the problem using real-time machine learning software powered by its innovative Adaptive Behavioral Analytics.

The company’s ARIC Risk Hub is today deployed in some of the world’s largest banks, payments processors and merchant acquirers. As it continues to flourish from its Atlanta base, Featurespace’s prowess has grown to an extent that it has a lot more than Georgia on its mind. 

Atlanta was almost burned to the ground by General Sherman in the American Civil War but today Featurespace’s technological prowess is carrying a new torch across the State and the nation and negativity over financial criminals has long since gone with the wind.

Atlanta’s GDP alone is beyond $400 billion so add the financial firepower of America’s other 49 States and it is easy to see why Featurespace is in such hot demand on that side of the Atlantic.

Featurespace is able to meet market demand not simply through innovative technology but also because its market intel in the space provides customers with such peace of mind and makes fraudsters think twice.

As an example of its influencing role, in September Featurespace will be launching the first ever financial crime industry trends report for North America revealing insights into the rising fraud cases across the country. The report will provide data allied to the Federal Reserve FraudClassifier Model (www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/pressreleases/other20200618a.htm).

This is a strategic initiative announced in 2020 encompassing a set of tools and materials to help provide a consistent way to classify and better understand the magnitude of fraudulent activity and how it occurs across the payments industry.

Featurespace co-founder Dave Excell, who moved to the US in 2017 to drive the growth and operation of the business across the Americas, is thrilled at the company’s progress in the territory thus far. 

He says: “While there are many factors that contributed to our decision to expand our footprint in the US market, our primary focus has always been our customers. We are fully committed to growing our client base and protecting them from the ongoing battle against fraud attacks.”

Featurespace has signalled its intention to further strengthen its US operations with key people hires. Excell will soon be joined by Carolyn Homberger, a well-known figure in the sector and most recently at ACI Worldwide, as the company’s new Americas President. She was recognised by PaymentsSource for being “One of the Most Influential Women in Payments.”

Another important recent addition to the US team is AML, Financial Crime and Law Enforcement expert Todd Raque. Raque has brought nearly three decades of industry knowledge in financial crime and compliance to Featurespace, where he is enhancing the development and delivery of the ARIC™ Risk Hub.

Featurespace is building exponentially from the most solid of foundations. As it expands globally, the company has seen a 78 per cent growth in Total Contract Value year-on-year, with the US housing the company’s largest customer base.

While names of new clients cannot be made public at this stage, multiple PoCs (Proof of Concepts) are in play across the whole market. The exceptional success of the US-headquartered TSYS and Worldpay partnerships continues to extend the reach of Featurespace’s technology in its mission to make the world a safe place to transact. The groundbreaking partnership between global payments company TSYS and Featurespace to create the TSYS Foresight Score has been described as a “game changer” by customers.

Paul Daffin, EVP Product Strategy and Transformation at TSYS, is quoted as saying: “Foresight Score outperforms on all metrics. The technology is in a constant challenger environment and wins every time.”

Worldpay’s FraudSight, powered by Featurespace, has just won The Card & Payments Awards’ “Best Technology Initiative” for 2022. Comments from the judges highlighted Worldpay’s ability to deliver unparalleled insight to mitigate fraud while increasing merchants’ approval rates and protecting its consumers.

Looking at the broader picture, Featurespace’s US growth was recently formally recognised by the company’s inclusion in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ rankings of the fastest-growing technology, media, telecoms, life sciences, FinTech, and energy tech companies – public and private – in North America.

A highly significant partnership, just announced, is with US-headquartered card issuing and payment solutions company Marqeta. The company’s new RiskControl solution – a comprehensive product suite developed with Featurespace – helps card issuers better optimise their card programs and take control of end-to-end risk management.

So back to the future: Featurespace chose Atlanta for its US base because of its diversity, its universities and concentration of payment processing firms which compromise many of the company’s customers.

It has even got the details drilled down to a significant map reference – it occupies almost 7,000 sq ft in the city’s Bank of America building at the heart of “Transaction Alley.”

But there is no resting on laurels for Dave Excell and his team. He explains: “The rate of change across the US payments industry is increasing as financial institutions respond to accelerated e-commerce growth, mobile first banking, and increased customer expectations.

“As the fraudster is also developing new tactics and technologies to exploit the consumer online, smart thinking banks and financial institutions are embracing machine learning technologies to reduce fraud losses and protect the customer experience. The US is a hugely important market for Featurespace as we continue to partner with leading banks, merchant acquirers, and payment processors to combat the criminal.”

For more details about the company, the technology and career opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic, visit www.featurespace.com

• PHOTOGRAPH: Featurespace co-founder Dave Excell. Image courtesy of Featurespace

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