Predictions Series 2022: AiThority Interview with Jimmy Fong, Chief Commercial Officer at SEON
Hi Jimmy, please tell us a little bit about how you arrived here as CCO at SEON?
It sometimes feels like it was yesterday, but I actually joined SEON in March 2020. It was an incredibly busy period, as not long after my appointment the company announced its record-breaking Series A funding round led by Creandum. Prior to joining SEON, I worked for several fraud and payments startups, the last three of which were acquired by leading industry names, which is something I’m proud of. This experience only strengthened my resolve to build cutting edge technologies that make a real difference to SEON’s customer base.
What is SEON and how do you use AI Machine learning for fighting fraud?
I’ll try and keep it brief. Simply put, SEON offers a straightforward, modern way to fight fraud for businesses of all sizes. We’re able to offer a revolutionary AI and Machine Learning fraud prevention platform to our clients, which helps them to identify fraud before it happens, wean out false accounts, and detect fraud in real-time. The company’s solution can verify users with zero friction, enabling businesses to save money and fully complement their KYC and IDV checks. Unlike most fraud prevention companies, our solution has been built to offer rapid integration and pay-as-you-go flexibility to companies across a myriad of sectors and accessible widely to any online business.
What kinds of fraud do you mitigate for customers?
The beauty of SEON’s solution is how versatile it is, and how well it lends itself to tackling various types of fraud, including bonus abuse, multi accounting, ATO, detection of fraud rings and bot attacks. Within our solution we can help protect our customers using a multitude of services, from frictionless onboarding, KYC, identifying revenue opportunities and gaining insights into user interactions.
We operate across a range of sectors, but our specialities lie in the banking, iGaming, eCommerce and Buy Now, Pay Later markets. To put this versatility into some context, since starting in 2017, we’ve been able to serve over 5,000 companies, reviewing over 1 billion transactions, and saving our clients around €50 million in potentially fraudulent transactions.
Tell us a little bit about the different APIs used for building enterprise level AI stacks?
Thanks to our API-first approach, SEON’s solution can be plugged into a businesses’ system and be live within a matter of hours. Our data enrichment APIs combine data from emails, phone numbers, IP addresses, and device fingerprinting. This solution, using open publicly available data, offers a GDPR compliant approach in using digital footprinting for enterprises to gain more insights into their users. Incorporating our data with their internal AI or risk decisioning tech stack, we enable enterprises to make better risk decisions.
Our forward-thinking solution allows users to see this valuable customer information in a transparent, well-organised way. Better still, the solution is being continually updated and further tailored to the demands of our customers. To support this endeavour, we are constantly interviewing and surveying our clients and partners to better understand how they use our product. To this end, our product design is influenced by data-based decisions and a customer-focused approach.
What kind of IT readiness and infrastructure maturity is required at the user-end to fully benefit from SEON’s offerings?
One of the things that really sets SEON’s solution apart from others in the fraud prevention space is how accessible it is. The founding team really built the solution in a way where it can be easily integrated by companies. Our API structure is pretty much a plug-and-play solution, which can help to improve fraud prevention performance in a matter of minutes. SEON also offers a 14-day free trial, along with transparent pricing packages so that businesses can pay-as-they-go. What’s more, we’re now able to offer a ‘forever free’ version of our industry-leading fraud prevention platform accessible to any online business.
How did the pandemic change you as a person and as a business leader? Could you please tell us how you stayed on top of your business roles during the challenging times?
The pandemic changed things for everyone and certainly made completing particular tasks different than before. I joined SEON right at the start of the crisis, which obviously wasn’t ideal from an onboarding perspective, but we made it work, which is testament to the company. I’m not sure the pandemic changed me as a person, but it did make me more appreciative of certain things that I had probably taken for granted before.
The ability to speak with people face to face, whether about a work-related topic, or something else was a huge loss. As a business, and on a personal level, I quickly looked for ways to address that problem. Of course, that meant investing in upgraded webcam and video conferencing services and having honest conversations with employees. Now that we’re back in the office, I think I probably spend more time ensuring that everyone is keeping in communication with each other both online and in person to maintain a good balance and encourage a solid team environment.
Tell us more about your vision for data science and AI?
We’re proud to be at the forefront of embedding machine learning within fraud detection. The advantages of this approach are clear for all to see. Machines can process large datasets more effectively than humans, which allows fraud managers to generate faster and more efficient decisions, reduce manual review times and formulate better fraud-related predictions in a cost-effective manner.
In the grand scheme of things, the field is still in its early days, but the pace of change happening right now is staggering. I don’t think it will be long before we see these systems embedded within virtually all fraud prevention platforms. Along the way, I’m confident we’ll see some of the small kinks currently associated with these technologies being ironed out. It’s certainly a very exciting time to be involved with the sector.
As mentioned, due to the early nature of this field, it is important to ensure that there is a combined effort from machine learning with human insights. It is vital that investment is made into a valuable team of ex-fraud analysts who will use their expertise to help refine and perfect the technology being built. This relationship will also help to better assist fraud managers and fraud analysts with client support.
How is No Code programming influencing the evolution of machine learning applications in the B2B domain?
It’s certainly having a big impact, and something that mustn’t be ignored by those working in the field. Ultimately, No Code programming can be used to help to speed up development time frames, and therefore offers more room for specific domain tailoring. What’s more, it eliminates the need to do significant amounts of repetitive coding, which is of great benefit especially when working on complex systems.
Data integration and data optimization are big challenges for enterprises. What is the best approach to drive breakthrough business results with SEON’s product such as Catboost?
Data integration and data optimization are huge challenges for businesses. As a company, we strive to help our customers to simplify the use of their data, and to get the most out of it. Some great examples are our straightforward API definitions, or our scoring engine, which take the complex decision-making systems used by our customers and simplify them into one single fraud score.
The Catboost update takes that ability one step further and allows clients to work with only one probability given by the model. Additionally, within the background, the solution is able to take care of the fine-tuning and personalization of the models, saving clients another job when building systems. To this end, we’re able to streamline the systems used by our clients to ensure that only one probability emerges within decision-making processes.
Your predictions on the future of AI-based data enrichment platforms and how SEON could become the leading option for new age digital companies?
It feels like we’re moving into a new digital era, where the blending of online and offline personalities is more pronounced, and ultimately more complex. At the same time, there are now new technologies emerging, which have the potential to make online fraud more difficult to spot. The combination of these two factors should concern people. We may quickly find ourselves in a world where it’s increasingly difficult to tell real and fake profiles apart.
Similarly, when it comes to high-growth economies in emerging markets, such as those in the APAC and LATAM regions there’s been a longstanding challenge around individuals with minimal, or non-existent credit histories. In the past, this lack of data had undermined the efficacy of certain fraud prevention checks. Thankfully, SEON can leverage social footprints, which virtually everyone has, in order to detect what’s fraud and what isn’t.
That’s why platforms like SEON are so powerful. Our data enrichment solution can redefine what fraud prevention means for this new, digital generation. By leveraging digital and social signals, businesses can identify whether individuals really are who they say they are. That’s why we truly believe that our solution represents the future of fraud prevention.
What kinds of AI and data science talent are you hiring for your company and why?
We want to attract the best people to SEON, which means approaching talented individuals from across a wide variety of different backgrounds. As such, we’re looking to hire all manner of AI and data science talent to support our ambitions. In addition, we’re also interested in finding new colleagues who are experienced in programming optimization, or who have outstanding algorithmic and mathematical skills.
However, it’s not all about attracting new people into our ranks. As a business, we’re also focussed on providing space to allow our junior colleagues to develop as well. We want to help staff to go further in their careers and aim to provide an environment that’s conducive to supporting that growth. That’s what makes SEON such an exciting place to work, and why it often feels more like a family than a business.
Thank you, Jimmy! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
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