The future of fraud is changing. Fraudsters are becoming smarter at dealing with cybersecurity put in front of them. As a result, firms must evolve too, in order to ensure the safety of their data and that of their customers.
One company taking part in the charge to drive change is SEON. SEON looks to help online businesses reduce the costs, time, and challenges faced due to fraud. It does so by simplifying fraud management so organisations can focus on what matters: growing and scaling their company.
Matt Davies is the company’s CMO. Davies facilitates rapid growth while keeping SEON’s customers at the heart when combatting fraud. He is a part of a team supporting the fraud-fighting organisation’s expansion into the US, APAC and beyond.
Looking to learn more about the cybersecurity space and how Davies ended up in it, we sat down with SEON’s CMO:
Tell us more about your company and its purpose
SEON is using real-time data, machine learning and near-instant decisions to redefine what it means to fight online fraud and fincrime. By offering easy, rapid integration and fair pay-as-you-go flexibility, we’re able to offer a simplified, modern way to tackle this problem.
Our solution leverages digital and social footprints to identify the telltale signs of fraud, and has become the go-to fraud prevention solution for ambitious fintech leaders, like Revolut, NuBank, Afterpay, Patreon, Sorare and mollie.
What are some of your recent achievements you’d like to highlight?
We’ve had a really successful year. It included a record-breaking USD $94million Series B investment led by IVP Global, in addition to a plethora of highly successful partnerships with leading companies. These partnerships were across the e-commerce, iGaming and Buy Now, Pay Later sectors. Additionally, we were named ‘Hottest Cybersecurity Startup of the Year’ at the Europas Awards 2022.
Most recently, however, we launched a ‘forever free’ version of our solution, which is something we’re all really proud of. The powerful tool makes effective fraud prevention accessible to businesses of all sizes, and takes us one step closer to achieving our ultimate goal of democratizing fraud prevention.
The past few months have also seen us retain our position as one of the leaders in fraud detection and protection software on G2, a peer-to-peer business software and services review site. That’s really encouraging to us, as G2 reports are based on unfiltered customer reviews. So it’s something that we really love to highlight.
How did you get into the tech industry?
Even as a youngster, I had a huge interest in technology. From going to the newsagents to buy a computer magazine in the 1980s so I could write code on my Spectrum ZX81, to doing a lot of RAF training, to being part of the first set of university students who knew how the internet worked in the mid 90s – I was always interested in what technology could do.
Then, after a computer science degree with IBM, and my first job at Netscape – the first real “internet” company I became truly hooked.
I loved being at the forefront of different waves of innovation (the web, mobile computing, e-commerce, big data) and getting to work with products and solutions that can advance the world around us. Over the course of my nearly 30-year career (which is hard to confess to), I’ve worked for several tech and software companies, including VP of regional marketing and VP of customer marketing at Splunk, which was my role previous to CMO at SEON and it’s been a fantastic journey.
What’s the best thing about working in the tech industry?
The tech sector is able to disrupt the status quo in a way that few other sectors are able to do. I saw that first-hand during my time at Splunk, and now again at SEON. While the two businesses offer very different solutions, they share a lot in common in terms of spirit and drive.
Ultimately, the tech industry is all about finding new and inventive ways to solve long-standing problems for customers and that is something that really appeals to me. We used to have a saying which is “if you’re ever having a bad day then go and talk to a customer”. Some of the truly groundbreaking customer stories I’ve heard or been involved in always raise a smile and head shake of disbelief around what technology can do to help organisations but most importantly people.
“Some people may consider leaving a highly successful post-IPO business, like Splunk, for an early stage Anglo-Hungarian startup, like SEON, to be a mistake. However, it’s truly one of the best decisions that I’ve made.”
What frustrates you most about the fintech industry?
The fintech sector is unique and truly exciting. Now, as it begins to mature, there are certainly areas in need of improvements. In general, I think the sector would benefit from putting a greater emphasis on issues like cybersecurity. There’s still a tendency by some in the sector to think about cybersecurity reactively, and not proactively. Ultimately, the risks of this approach are now far too great, with organised cybersecurity attacks capable of derailing even fast-growing fintech businesses.
It frustrates me that this is still a possibility, despite cybersecurity solutions now being so much more accessible. It is incumbent on all of us in the space to help make these technical innovations easy for everyone to understand so we can remove some of the confusion, uncertainty and complex terminology and really show the benefit they bring.
How have your previous roles influenced your career?
The experiences that I’ve accrued over my career massively influence the professional I am today at SEON. I’ve worked for many big and small companies that have gone through significant year on year growth. I think that’s helped me see the culture, mindset, constant building and team spirit that’s needed to scale, be successful and customer-centric on a global scale.
I want to bring some of these lessons to the exec team at SEON, while still ensuring the company retains that special quality that makes it so impactful in the broader fraud-fighting community.
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
Some people may consider leaving a highly successful post-IPO business, like Splunk, for an early stage Anglo-Hungarian startup, like SEON, to be a mistake. However, it’s truly one of the best decisions that I’ve made.
I knew from my first interactions with the company’s team that this was a business that would suit me, the urge to build again and the values I find important. Now, well over six months into the job, I can confidently say that I was right in this assumption and have loved every minute of the journey so far.
What has the future got in store for your company?
Leveraging our record-breaking Series B investment, as well as the growing demand for our solution, we now look set for another year of significant growth in 2023.
As a business, one of our key aims moving forward is scaling into new regions around the world. Next year, a big focus will be the growth of our business in the United States. We recently opened an office in one of the nation’s key tech hubs of Austin, Texas and we are now looking forward to further developing that team and our resources out there.
I’m also very excited to see how we help our biggest customers with some of the product innovations we have whilst also helping those small companies that are still starting up with our free pricing model. We have some very impressive plans for the first half next year that will take us into a brand new market and a whole new set of people we’ll be able to help.
What are the next key talking points or challenges for your industry as a whole?
In the past few months, SEON has been trying to highlight what the future of fraud might look like. With the rise of solutions like deep fakes and AI chatbots, it’s going to become much harder for people to authenticate themselves online very soon.
Thankfully, that’s where data enrichment can help, particularly when applied to digital and social footprints. Fraudsters can easily pose as customers, but they cannot replicate the digital footprints of legitimate customers as it’s not economical for them.
The types, speed and sophistication of fraud attacks is advancing all the time, so the ability to help organisations reduce the cost of fincrime and help create a fraud-free world is going to be a key talking point for the next few years. Everyone at SEON is very excited about rising to that challenge.