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29 January, 2018 - 16:21 By Tony Quested

Featurespace hiring 100 more tech aces in Cambridge

Fraud busting machine learning business Featurespace is looking to hire 100 new staff from Cambridge this year to keep pace with unprecedented  demand from customers at the forefront of the global finance industry.

The Cambridge University spin-out is already up to 133 staff and raised $21.7 million growth capital last October.

CEO Martina King now tells Business Weekly that soaring customer demand on both sides of the Atlantic has rapidly accelerated scale-up plans and up to 100 new hires are now required in 2018 to further finesse the technology that detects and repels payment fraud in real-time and ensure finance houses keep fraudsters at bay.

Featurespace has built from scratch to become the world's leading provider of Adaptive Behavioural Analytics technology for fraud and risk management. Finance industry heavyweights are using the company’s ARIC platform in-house or via secure cloud to build individual statistical profiles of customers using highly sophisticated mathematical formulae.

By incorporating the technology they are detecting any payment anomalies at point of transaction across multiple and complex data collection systems and processes.

King told Business Weekly that as the company was born in Cambridge and grown so strongly from the city it wanted to hire as many as the new 100 personnel as possible from inside the cluster.

“Of course we will hire internationally because we have a growing presence in the United States. Also, our major customers are using the ARIC platform to fight online fraud in countries around the world.

“But we see Featurespace very much as a Cambridge success story and are keen to ensure the city continues to dictate the pace as we scale as a source of new talent, despite the hot competition in the cluster.”

Besides specialist software, implementation and computer engineers, Featurespace is seeking talented mathematicians and physicians who can help further refine and upgrade the next generations of the technology (www.featurespace.com/careers/).

Comprehensive training programmes specific to the services being provided to financial customers will be provided to fast-track recruits into the commercial propositions clients are seeking.

King says that new hires currently living in London or the Midlands, where a lot of top clients are based, would be permitted to work from their current locations if they bought into the Featurespace mission.

Featurespace’s growth to date has been completely organic and King tells me there are no plans slated for an IPO. The company has ample funding to underpin the next wave of growth, although King does not rule out the prospect of further investment if the current rate of expansion continues to spiral internationally.

She said: “Every single employee at Featurespace is totally committed to our mission of detecting and countering payment fraud as it happens because it is a threat to every person that attempts a transaction online.

“Financial institutions are buying into the proposition in increasing numbers and in greater volume and it is giving us all here so much satisfaction to know that our technology is doing so much good to counter and repel fraudsters.

“While market forces are undoubtedly driving demand for our solution, there is no doubt that the strength of the technology in its own right – and its future capabilities and enhancements – is winning a lot of new friends across the payments sector, as some major new contracts in the pipeline will testify.

“Machine learning on the scale we operate is so effective in dealing with the detection of payment fraud, especially our platform, which is so well developed. The talent available in Cambridge in this field will enable us to grow the technology not just in line with but ahead of our customers’ demands.

“It is so rewarding to have our customers as our most passionate sales people, spreading the word about the success of our system. We now do direct business in the UK and Europe, in the US where our presence is growing, in the Netherlands, in Mexico and Malta. Through our customers, of course, we cover pretty much all the major territories on the planet.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Featurespace CEO, Martina King

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