Ex-transferwisers launch AML startup Salv after $2M seed round
  • Salv’s technology makes a bank over 10x more effective in combating money laundering

  • The founding team includes the former heads of AML, analytics, and verification at TransferWise

Tallinn – 03/12/19 – Salv, the anti-money laundering (AML) startup, announced a $2M seed round today. The round is 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 CIO for Estonia Taavi Kotka. 

Salv was founded by Taavi Tamkivi (CEO), Jeff McClelland (COO) and Sergei Rumjantsev (CTO). Taavi built the AML, Fraud, and Know Your Customer (KYC) teams at TransferWise and Skype. Jeff started his career in ING Bank before leading fraud and other analytics teams at Skype, and setting up the analytics team at TransferWise. Sergei led the engineering team for  KYC and Verificationat Transferwise.

The founders recognized the growing disconnect between the roughly €84 billion spent per year by the European banking sector, and the slight 1-2% of global money-laundering detected. To highlight the scope of this criminal industry, then the estimated amount of money laundered globally is $1 to $2 trillion annually, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

According to Tamkivi, compliance is important, but not enough to fight crime. “Banks are spending more and more resources on AML but not making real progress. Even if a bank is 100% 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,” he said.

Maximilian Tayenthal, 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.”

The dashboard designed by Salv is an intuitive product equipping compliance specialists with the tools needed to reduce time on false-positive alerts. It puts the compliance officer in the driver’s seat by eliminating the necessity of constantly engaging support from engineers. Integration takes less than a month and minimal support from the engineering department. “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 10x more efficient,” Tamkivi claims.

Salv is currently available to banks and other financial institutions in Europe. LHV has already seen the importance Salv brings to the industry and jumped on board. Andres Kitter, the Head of the LHV UK branch, feels that other banks should follow their path. “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. It gives real-time data to our team and allows us to share information with other institutions. It’s a significant advantage in identifying possible criminal activity and catching more criminals,” he said.

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