ComplyAdvantage: Using machine learning to detect and prevent financial crime
The investment: In 2020, we led a US$50 million Series C financing for ComplyAdvantage, a U.K.-based technology company that helps firms around the world manage financial-crime risks through data and AI-driven insights.
Ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure. Dark web trading platforms. Record anti-money laundering fines. The financial-services industry is wrestling with how to stay ahead of bad actors who exploit the financial system to hide the proceeds of their illicit activities. The task is made harder by new technologies that sometimes provide the anonymity that financial criminals crave. Add in ever-evolving financial regulations that reflect governments’ attempts to keep up with digital innovation and emerging threats, and it’s easy to understand why compliance is a major challenge for the industry.
ComplyAdvantage’s founder, Charles Delingpole, saw firsthand just how difficult it is to manage these risks while he was evaluating anti-money laundering tools for a fintech company he had started. The existing tools were clunky and relied on data that quickly became obsolete. Delingpole’s experience was the starting point for a new venture, ComplyAdvantage, that makes detecting financial crime easier and faster.
Since its founding in 2014, ComplyAdvantage has built a vast database that draws on thousands of separate data feeds, government watchlists, adverse media reports and transaction monitoring to capture billions of datapoints representing people and entities all over the world. It uses machine learning to map out relationships between all these players. Last year, the ComplyAdvantage platform monitored more than 1 billion transactions across 150 million entities. The result: a real-time, global picture of how criminal activity does or can unfold. ComplyAdvantage’s database makes it easier for companies to onboard clients, process transactions, detect wrongdoing and avoid hefty fines. This in turn helps these companies significantly reduce their compliance costs.
The value of ComplyAdvantage’s platform has been especially apparent as sanctions have become a key tool in the Western response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since the Russian invasion, the platform has facilitated 4,000 searches every minute, and sanctions-monitoring activity has more than doubled.
We invested in ComplyAdvantage because of our shared vision, and because we believe it has the best team and tools to address the growing compliance risks faced by many organizations. Since our investment, ComplyAdvantage has expanded its footprint, which now includes offices on three continents and more than 800 clients in 70 countries. Its revenue grew 80% last year and it expects that growth to accelerate in 2022 as it acquires new clients, expands work for existing clients and deploys new products. Its solutions are being used by traditional banks, insurance providers and wealth managers as well as fintechs and cryptocurrency exchanges. And ComplyAdvantage has also expanded into new markets, encompassing non-financial sector firms whose operations could be subject to sanctions.
"OTPP is a great example of what many conscious founders seek from an investment partner—a combination of strategic value with a shared belief in making the world a better place. It's these two factors that make OTPP an ideal partner for companies like ComplyAdvantage. With OTPP's support we are working to stop the real-world impact of money laundering and related financial crimes as we scale to become the global leader in counter risk intelligence."
Charles Delingpole, Founder and CEO,