Dublin unicorn Fenergo makes first acquisition with SentinelsVish Gainon April 25, 2022 at 09:50 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


Irish fintech Fenergo has announced the acquisition of Dutch compliance tech company Sentinels to help its clients boost anti-money laundering (AML) efforts.

With financial crime on the rise, Fenergo will now employ all of Sentinel’s 70 employees to ramp-up its transaction monitoring tech with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Founded in 2019, Amsterdam-based Sentinels uses AI for intelligent transaction monitoring and data-driven compliance in a financial industry that is facing increasing regulations.

The deal, which was made for an undisclosed amount but is believed to be an eight-figure sum, will enable Fenergo’s clients and financial institutions to combine know-your-customer (KYC) profiles with client behavioural data for “continuous and granular KYC monitoring”, helping them observe due diligence.

‘Blended approach’

The acquisition, Fenergo’s first since it was founded in 2008, will also help Sentinels scale its technology rapidly and expand its global footprint.

Fenergo CEO Marc Murphy thinks that Sentinels is “an ideal fit” within his company because of their shared foals of aiming to solve the “increasing compliance and operational challenges” facing financial institutions today.

“By adding transaction compliance to our existing client onboarding and product origination solutions, financial institutions can monitor and review client behaviour and identify risks on an ongoing basis,” said Murphy, who has been leading Fenergo since it was founded.

“This blended approach to financial crime makes us perfectly placed to address the rising compliance challenges faced by financial institutions more efficiently.”

Rising cost of compliance

Fenergo cited research by advisory firm Celent which suggests that 63pc of financial institutions expect budgets to increase for financial crime and fraud, with 17pc anticipating an increase by more than 5pc. Celent also found that overall spend for AML and KYC technology has increased by 13pc since 2020 to $10.7bn.

“With compliance costs surging to unsustainable levels, being blindsided by increasingly sophisticated criminal activity is simply not an option,” said Sentinels founder and CEO, Joost van Houten, adding that financial institutions need to “break through data siloes and start assessing client risk holistically”.

“The combined force of Fenergo and Sentinels will ensure leading financial institutions and the fintech disrupters are best equipped to navigate the complex regulatory environment and fight financial crime,” van Houten added.

Fenergo, one of Ireland’s few tech unicorns and a previous Tech Ireland tech company of the year, has seen rapid financial growth in recent months.

After being acquired by Paris-based Astorg and London-based Bridgeport last year, the fintech announced in January that was hiring 61 people in Ireland to scale its SaaS technology faster as its annual revenue edges closer than ever to the €100m mark.

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