Silent Eight, a Polish-founded technology company using artificial intelligence (AI) to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, has completed a new round of early-stage funding, bringing the company’s total capital raised to 15 million US dollars. The investment round was led by OTB Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in technology businesses originating from Central and Eastern Europe. It was supported by, among others, Koh Boon Hwee, chairman and general partner of Altara Ventures, and SC Ventures – the innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm of Standard Chartered Bank – underscoring the importance of financial crime compliance for the global banking sector. All are existing investors of the company.
Founded in 2013, Silent Eight was born out of a desire to help solve the human cost of financial crime, using machine-learning technology to screen financial transactions against sanctions lists, criminal records, court cases and other public and private data.
The company’s AI-powered solution helps organisations combat money laundering and terrorist financing, with an auditable technology process to enable transparent compliance with new regulatory obligations and economic sanctions. Last year alone, global financial institutions faced approximately 10 billion US dollars in fines from supervisory authorities for non-compliance with know-your-customer (KYC), anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions. This compared with 26 billion US dollars in the ten years prior. Of the non-compliance fines enforced in 2019, 40 per cent were related to trade sanctions, amid trade war escalations and heightened international political tensions. Of the world’s top 50 banks, 12 were fined for non-compliance with AML, KYC and sanctions violations last year.
The new investment doubles Silent Eight’s valuation from the company’s 2019 Series A funding, reflecting strong momentum with banks and financial institutions across the world. In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, where up to 90 per cent of banking and insurance professionals are working from home and Interpol warning of an increase in cybercrime, financial institutions are investing more in compliance to tackle the financing of organisations behind human trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism and political corruption. Silent Eight’s solutions are deployed by firms in over 70 countries helping them to reduce these risks.
With teams in New York, London and Singapore – together with a tech research and development centre in Warsaw – Silent Eight enables the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, such as Standard Chartered, to transact with confidence and meet regulatory requirements.
“Every bank and every financial institution aims to provide a bespoke customer experience in a secure and seamless way. As financial criminals get savvier in their techniques, our team’s goal is to provide a unique solution that prevents them from endangering the global economy and profiting from those most vulnerable. We are very encouraged to see our investors’ confidence in our product,” says Martin Markiewicz, founder and CEO at Silent Eight.
Since the beginning of 2020, Silent Eight has doubled in scale, with more and larger clients added to its roster and a growing pipeline going into quarter four. The company has also successfully built new solutions to help banks to navigate new challenges brought by Covid-19. To address this new dynamic, Silent Eight has launched an on-demand cloud-based AI solution to enable continuous real-time name, entity and transaction screening.
Adam Niewinski, co-founder and managing partner of OTB Ventures, says: “We are thrilled to support Silent Eight through its next phase of growth. Amid the disruption brought by Covid-19, true innovators have emerged even more relevant for the new challenges faced by the global economy. Silent Eight is a testament to the technology talent of Central and Eastern Europe, engineering a first-class AI platform adopted by world-renowned financial institutions.”
Praveen Jain, head of financial crime compliance surveillance solutions and innovation at Standard Chartered Bank, adds: “At Standard Chartered Bank, we are continually investing to be at the forefront of the ever-changing financial crime landscape and our partnership with Silent Eight brings us new cutting-edge capabilities. Every day, Silent Eight’s AI-powered platform is helping our compliance analysts reach decisions faster, while improving quality and consistency in our approach to identifying financial crime risk. The solution has supported us through the Covid-19 related challenges, and we continue to explore new ways to leverage Silent Eight in our fight against financial crime.”
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