INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Sumsub: Fighting Fraud and Ensuring Compliance in Times of Global Crisis
We talked to Jacob Sever of Sumsub about identity verification that people love and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Jacob Sever: We’re trying to be safe and focus on the good things. It’s been a hard time to live through, but my brothers and I have stayed sane by working on a project that we love.
Overall, there was a lot of excitement this year. We secured a $6 million investment round, moved into a new office space, and welcomed quite a few new faces to our international team. We made the best of the situation, so to say.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sumsub.
Jacob Sever: In 2015, my brothers and I developed forensic anti-fraud software based on machine learning algorithms. This technology was the foundation of our present solution—an identity verification platform for KYC/KYB/AML.
Our first project was designed to help insurance companies and local banks catch fraudsters by exposing fake documents. It was a great success and opened doors to a lot of exciting opportunities, including projects for international intelligence services and police agencies. The more we saw our solution protecting people from digital scams, the more it felt like we were moving in the right direction. We took on the role of digital detectives—and we liked it.
At the time, however, our solution was too narrow to cover all the fraud-related challenges that the business faced. As we worked on broadening our solution, our friends at Cryptopay reached out to us. They needed compliance and anti-fraud solution for their platform. The timing was perfect, and the rest is history.
Since then, we’ve put together the ultimate compliance and anti-fraud solution—incorporating anti-photoshop technology, face matching, AML data, liveness, crypto monitoring, and dozens of other helpful features.
How does Sumsub innovate?
Jacob Sever: The market is full of solutions-oriented on a single task—be it compliance, anti-fraud, or customer support. We are doing something that others don’t: providing an all-in-one toolkit that cuts compliance costs, increases conversion, and shields companies from fraud attacks and regulatory penalties.
When it comes to compliance and fraud protection, companies shouldn’t have to struggle with either 1) building their own manual processes from scratch or 2) integrating multiple segmental solutions for AML data, legal support, etc. That’s why Sumsub provides an all-in-one solution to help global businesses with different workflows meet the requirements of compliance and anti-fraud, making it easier and more efficient.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Jacob Sever: I can happily say that COVID-19 didn’t disrupt our growth, but rather pushed us further—and quite a long way at that. Of course, many of the sectors we work in have suffered, such as the logistics and carsharing industries. In the beginning, we thought the pandemic would hurt us—especially when we saw some of our clients reducing verification checks and limiting their services (which meant less work for us to do). So we definitely saw a decline in checks for a few weeks in spring, but soon bounced back with explosive growth.
As the world moved further online, online fraud skyrocketed, and so did the demand for better fraud protection. Moreover, many companies were moving online quickly and needed a trustworthy identity verification and anti-fraud provider. And so, by August 2020, we tripled our year-over-year growth.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Jacob Sever: For many, this past year has been challenging. 2020 made us focus more on helping those in need of support—supplying free checks to struggling businesses and nonprofits, such as public health organizations, emergency services, community initiatives, and volunteers.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Jacob Sever: Exercise. I can’t stress enough how much it gets you out of the constantly stressed, “living at work” state.
We used to take our coworkers to play beach volleyball at an indoor court every Saturday before COVID-19 entered our lives. But, even if all the gyms are closed, you can always work out at home, as long as you find something that suits you.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jacob Sever: I would say we have no direct competitors, as our solution is uniquely broad. However, some companies are often mentioned alongside us, including Trulioo, Jumio, Onfido.
Your final thoughts?
Jacob Sever: It’s now crystal clear that the demand for identity verification, compliance and anti-fraud solutions will grow over time. As more and more people transition to digital, fraudsters take advantage, and regulators come up with more intricate compliance demands. In this never-ending cycle, we are thrilled to be the ones offering a reliable, one-click solution.
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