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21 September, 2021 - 21:02 By Tony Quested

Latest award acknowledges soaring global sales for Featurespace

It is 16 years since Featurespace was founded as a spin-out from the University of Cambridge with the mission of combating the emerging problem of online fraud.

With a naive public asking at that point: ‘What’s online fraud?’ co-founders Bill Fitzgerald, a much-cherished Cambridge don, and a young Dave Excell decided they would form a business that would be proactive – not reactive.

Even as the nascent technology evolved it was clear that online financial transactions were vulnerable to attack at the expense of financial companies and their customers.

It is tempting to say that nobody knew how bad the problem would get. But the founders of Featurespace had a hunch and followed their instincts.
Many University spin-outs in such infancy wither on the vine as they bid to commercialise their technology.

They fail to identify where the true value lies in the business and instead thrash around targeting multiple vertical markets when there is a stand-out one and only opportunity.

Many attempt to pivot; some are so out of touch with what their technology can enable that they pirhouette! Potential investors lose patience, founders scatter and are left with what might have been.

Featurespace was effectively born with its own digital twin  – technology that serves as the real-time digital counterpart of a physical object or process. Messrs Fitzgerald and Excell had a clear vision of the potential of the technology and the space it should be attacking.

The company was well established when Fitzgerald died but Excell, CEO Martina King and a talented R & D team in Cambridge picked up the torch and blazed a trail internationally that has seen the company become a fraud busting warrior that has opened financial companies’ eyes to the dangers they face and the potentially ruinous backlash for their customers if they leave them exposed to attack.

It’s fair to say that while many new companies react to problems in a certain marketspace, Featurespace was mega-proactive in pre-identifying online fraud and actually created a market.

Global media have produced some stunning headlines in the last 12 months or so; ‘UK bank fraud hits new record high.’ Think multi-billions here. ‘Consumers robbed of billions.’

Inventive online fraudsters are increasingly finding new ways to infiltrate people’s accounts – a trend that has spiralled as consumers contend with the backlash of Covid and take their eye off the ball.

The banks and financial companies have reacted – some might say tardily –to a rising crisis: Imagine their relief at discovering that Featurespace had been there, done that and already opened the T-shirt factory.

Such is the extent of the online fraud problem that customers are no longer waiting for finance providers to strengthen fortifications. They are putting pressure on the financial providers to tighten their defences. Who do they turn to under such pressure? The figures prove that the answer is Featurespace.

There is a bottom line here that might be considered chilling were it not for the supreme technology that Featurespace has created in the arena of online fraud – and the roadmap it has charted to deal with future problems.

Featurespace is dictating the pace and telling financial companies and their customers: ‘Rely on us. We know where this is all leading and how we will ensure the good folk will come out unscathed.’

The company itself often talks about taking clients and their customers on a journey into the unknown but this sells Featurespace short. The company is actually demystifying the process because it knows where the trouble spots are and is bringing certainty into a world of potential chaos.

It is continually upgrading its technology to provide increased assuredness to financial specialists who are now able to transport that air of confidence to an often vulnerable public. And that is true around the globe; across the borders.

This long-term take by Featurespace screams: ‘We have your back. Lean on us.’

Featurespace is dedicated to protecting clients and their customers and does not overtly seek broader glory. Nevertheless, admirers and accolades continue to follow this genuinely groundbreaking fraud busting technology.

For example, the company has just received the AML Innovation prize from Aite-Novarica as part of its 2021 Fraud & AML Impact Innovation Awards.  Aite-Novarica is one of the premier global industry analyst firms based in the US where Featurespace also happens to be thriving.

Aite-Novarica Group Research Director, Chuck Subrt says: “With advanced and explainable anomaly detection capabilities, Featurespace’s ARIC Risk Hub enables financial organisations to identify current and emerging financial crime risks and events automatically and in real-time.”

The Award mentions a great many strengths, chiefly commitment to clients; cutting edge analytics and data science; and the ability to deliver  explainable, adaptive and self-learning anomaly detection in real time.

Judges also praised Featurespace’s enhanced case management functionality, which enables intelligent queue management and more efficient suspicious activity reporting.

They lauded the fact that the technology was adapting to criminal activity and identifying unknown risks as well as providing greater uplift for financial crime detection and enabling smarter investigations.

Featurespace’s new and proprietary method of explainability to quantify the uncertainty in machine learning model outputs and identify the aspects driving the underlying decisioning is unique globally.

To date, the company’s many notable wins in the US, LATAM and APAC have seen it increase sales 104 per cent year-over-year, while growing its cloud sales by more than 400 per cent. 

This growth reinforces how financial institutions are increasingly unwilling to compromise when it comes to selecting the best data science models and analytics to protect their customers from fraud and scams.

Looking ahead, the bottom line is that Featurespace has replaced fear and anxiety in the financial marketplace with unparallelled certainty and sure-footedness.

The enduring and reassuring message to financial providers and their consumers is that Featurespace has all their backs covered – and then some!

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