Fraud is sadly as old as humanity. However the digital age has created a huge arms race – on the one hand a massive increase in fraudulent attempts, on the other ever-stronger defences. Traditionally anti-fraud was a complex B2B sale but in the digital age where b2b and b2B sales outnumber by far B2B sales (SME/BigCo respectively) this all needs to change. SEON, despite being founded in only 2018 are making great inroads into this market already having signed up some 5,000 customers including Fintech Giants titans such as Revolut, (Transfer) Wise and Mollie as well as growing super-fast and having offices in Budapest, London, Austin and and Jakarta.
Bence and his co-founder Tamas Kadar have a classic origin story as University buddies with an interest in crypto whose first project together, a crypto exchange for central and eastern Europe, as might be expected in the more wild west parts of Fintech was the subject of fraudulent attacks. They tried outsourcing/buying in solutions etc and before deciding they could do better themselves. And it sounds like they are. Despite only founding in 2018 SEON already have offices in Budapest, London, Austin and and Jakarta.
In this episode we focus in particularly on what has made them so successful. Surely by 2022 most things are pretty digital? Well not digital enough by a long way in fraud by the sound of it. Topics discussed include:
- handling offices in different countries in this transitional covid regulation period
- challenges organising IRL meetings given everyone’s Swiss Cheese diary and this new idea that ~ not leaving one’s apartment is the new human right
- 170 staff (140 in Budapest) , up from 50 a year ago (!)
- generally 3 days in the office, 2 days at home
- Bence’s career journey to SEON
- why enterprise sales doesn’t work for the modern digital business
- “mission to make anti-fraud applications/services as accessible as simply as possible to as many people as possible”
- huge changes in purchasing process from oldskool to digital
- global expansions
- exponential growth or bust digital competition model
- fraud in product provision as well as in payments/identity
- psychology of online fraud being much easier to do as it feels more “victim-less” behind a screen than IRL fraud
- anecdote re Bence’s grandmother who has gone from queuing up in Soviet-ear shops to now buying groceries via her iPad
- how consumer-education works, or doesn’t work, in such a total shift of eras so rapidly happening
- “in the UK online fraud has been identified as a national security concern”
- how should awareness of risks be increased in a world of rapid change?
- merchants roles in protecting their customers
- historic pain points Bence experienced when he was a customer of antifraud services – sales and discovery process as well as features and complex payments
- comparison with SEON current approach
- importance of transparency, try before you buy and simple buying process with no complex terms in the modern digital world
- real-time authentication and data enrichment as key services
- need to consider wider sources as data points when deciding whether the transaction is authentic – digital footprint analysis
- consumer doesn’t feel like they are being checked out as they don’t have to submit extra data themselves
- credit cards, bank card charge-backs, insurance and the like – case study, theory and practice of recovering your money
- not well-known that if goods and services aren’t what you expected you can file a charge-back for that transaction and you should be protected
- “friendly fraud”
- business-to-business payments less easy to reverse in case of fraud
- Case Study of fake bank app in Hungary and what happened
- what does the future of anti-fraud and SEON hold?
- multiple use-cases
- SEON aiming to be the #1 in five years
- new use cases – verifying online business accounts and verification moving out from the consumer domain
- SEON’s two core products – end-to-end and data-enrichment intelligence tool
- aiming to increase staff numbers by a further ~150 people over the next 12 months
And much much more 🙂
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