We talked to Aleksandr Khelemskiy, product owner at Covery, about fraud prevention systems and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Aleksandr Khelemskiy: Hello, Edyta, and thanks for asking. Some of my family and team members have already recuperated from COVID-19 and the work continues, as usual, thank you.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you joined Covery.
Aleksandr Khelemskiy: I joined Covery 4 years ago as a risk analyst and after mastering the product became the project manager working on updates. Since 2020, I am responsible for ongoing Covery evolution as a product owner, so Covery is a product made by risk analysts for risk analysts.
How does Covery innovate?
Aleksandr Khelemskiy: Covery is an anti-fraud solution for fintech and other industries that interact with their customers online. To perform financial operations, such businesses should comply with regulatory requirements and perform Know Your Customer / Know Your Business / Anti-Money Laundering checks of their clients. Covery automates these operations, so instead of time-consuming manual checks, our customers enjoy automated assessments that take less than a second and greatly increase customer satisfaction and retention, ultimately growing their lifetime value. Covery is a perfect solution for Electronic Money Institutions, as our technical capabilities and product features cover all the anti-fraud, KYC/KYB/AML requirements, both the ones imposed by the regulator and the ones the companies want to implement themselves. Aside from providing a purpose-built solution, we share our anti-fraud and AML expertise in form of preconfigured business risk logic scenarios. Covery also protects our customers from multiple types of fraud, from stolen card payments to account takeover or synthetic identity theft. This is great for e-Commerce, payment providers, fintech, and other companies with customer-facing online systems.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Aleksandr Khelemskiy: We did not experience any issues with our existing customers and our financial position is stable. We have correctly selected the growth verticals from the get-go, and our customers kept steadily growing during the pandemic. Of course, when some customers needed time to reorganize their operations during the first months of the pandemic, we provided them with discounts for our services and helped them restructure the business processes related to risk management. However, now all the customers began operating fully online and their revenues started to grow, so we are steadily growing too.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Aleksandr Khelemskiy: The hardest decision during the first half of 2020 was to stop hiring junior specialists, as they did not perform well enough. Even the juniors we have already hired were showing decreased performance, but we have solved this challenge internally and did not fire anyone. However, this helped us improve the onboarding process for specialists of any level and now we are actively employing specialists of any seniority.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Aleksandr Khelemskiy: We have always provided online support to our existing customers, so nothing changed here, Our process of lead generation and new customer acquisition relied heavily on various offline events and conferences, so this had to be restructured. The summer of 2020 was quite complicated because the businesses had to adapt to the new reality and were putting all investments in new tools and services on hold. However, once many companies understood that automating their risk management and transaction monitoring cuts their expenses, which is very useful in times of crisis — they started actively seeking help from anti-fraud solution providers like Covery. As for outbound marketing, we now promote ourselves with email/LinkedIn marketing, PPC campaigns, and in various online communities.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Aleksandr Khelemskiy: We did not receive financial help of any kind from the government. However, we would very much appreciate some immaterial help — information and clarifications. Many large enterprises that might benefit from using Covery services are heavily regulated and have to comply with government initiatives. During the crisis, such companies are within the risk zone, as their ways of doing business are quite conservative, while you should be flexible and evolve to survive and prosper in times of turmoil. If the governments urged large businesses to adopt new technologies, they might have been more interested in software like Covery and gained a competitive edge. While Covery is a self-invested product, we are open to external investments. However, we do not solely seek monetary influx, we would appreciate added business value much more, like helping us conquer new market niches, providing distribution assistance, etc.