Salv, an Estonian anti-money laundering (AML) startup, raised $2 million seed round led by Fly Ventures, along with Passion Capital and Seedcamp. Angel investors joining the round include Twilio CTO Ott Kaukver, N26 co-founder Maximilian Tayenthal, and former national CIO for Estonia, Taavi Kotka.
The startup was founded by Taavi Tamkivi (CEO), Jeff McClelland (COO) and Sergei Rumjantsev (CTO), who used to run AML, analytics, and verification at Transferwise, respectively. They noticed a disconnect in the banking sector: of the $1 to 2 trillion that is laundered globally, banks only detect about 1 to 2 percent of it.
“Banks are spending more and more resources on AML but not making real progress. Even if a bank is 100 percent compliant with regulations, it isn’t enough. Money is still laundered, despite complex regulations and procedures. And the bad guys are always one step ahead. We built Salv to make financial institutions smarter at detecting crime, without damaging the experience of real customers. Usually, money-laundering is connected to serious, large-scale criminal activity from drug trafficking to arms dealing and terrorism. If we can stop money-laundering, we’re hitting the criminals where it hurts, and we make the world a safer place,” explained Tamkivi.
The Salv dashboard helps compliance specialists reduce time spent on false-positive alerts, innocent customers flagged by the system, and also reduces the time needed from engineering support.
“We help banks decrease transaction monitoring and false-positive alerts. Although significantly more crime gets detected, fewer honest customers get accidentally caught up in checks. Salv makes the bank’s fight against money-laundering over 10 times more efficient,” Tamkivi claims.
Maximilian Tayenthal, angel investor and co-founder of N26, said: “For the past ten years, the team at Salv have been at the forefront of anti-money laundering and helped many of the world’s leading tech companies to protect their platforms from financial crime. They understand the rapid development of AML inside out and it shows in the simple and effective product.”
Salv is currently available to banks and other financial institutions in Europe. LHV, the Estonian financial group, has already adopted the system for its banks. Andres Kitter, the head of the LHV UK branch, commented: “As a financial institution, we sell trust. We put a lot of resources into fighting crime. The challenge is to get it right without getting in the way of our genuine customers. Implementation of Salv is another step to align our operations to the lifted expectations of society, that reaches far above compliance.”