Sentinels accelerates under the wings of Fenergo and poised to deliver combined AML and KYC solutions

By 4 minute read

As publicly announced earlier today, our next chapter, marked by the acquisition of Sentinels by Fenergo, will bridge the current siloed worlds of Know Your Customer (KYC), Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) and transaction monitoring. The joint goal is creating a continuously up to date and detailed picture of the financial institution’s clients. CEO of Sentinels, Joost van Houten, reflects on the journey so far and our plans for the future.

Before I look ahead to the exciting next chapter for Sentinels, I want to take a moment to reflect and thank those who have made this journey possible. A huge thank you to our team, customers, partners, and investors for their trust in the company. Without them, Sentinels, as it is today, would not exist and would not be able to take this incredible next step. During this next growth phase, our ability to deliver great products and customer service will only increase and our commitment to battling financial crime has only become stronger. 

Building Sentinels 

When we first started Sentinels in 2019, it was in response to what we saw in the market and a first opportunity of working with our launching customer, Mollie. In the industry at large, compliance costs were climbing ever higher, compliance teams increasing in size, and new regulation and required policies and processes multiplying. We recognized that there were several challenges to a more effective and efficient approach of detecting financial crime. Amongst them data siloes and a generic detection approach that didn’t allow financial institutions to truly understand their customer activity and potential risks. 

None of the products on the market could provide a way forward so Mollie approached Slimmer AI, the B2B venture studio for help. We took the project on and rapidly discovered applications for this software far beyond Mollie’s needs alone. Spinning off from Slimmer AI allowed Sentinels to scale our team to 75+ full-time Sentinels staff with a focus on delivering intelligent transaction monitoring. 

Sentinels' successes, especially during a time of global shutdown, is reflected in a rapid international expansion and is an indicator of the need for a different approach to compliance challenges. We’ve opened two offices in the Netherlands with a technical hub in Groningen and our headquarters in Amsterdam. We then went international with offices in London and have just opened another office in Lisbon. All of this has been made possible due to the high growth market verticals we’re serving, including payments, challenger banks, remittance, crypto, and small & medium traditional banks. 

Sentinels’ next growth stage with Fenergo 

Sentinels had reached a crossroads, we could choose to continue to forge a path alone, a viable choice given our traction and interest from Venture Capital firms, or we could continue together with a market-leader in the compliance space. The acquisition by Fenergo was the clear choice, I outline the reasons why below.  

First, there is a strong cultural connection between the management teams. Fenergo is run as a flat organization that at their current size still hasn’t lost its feeling of being an industry challenger and high growth tech company. Each time we met with their leaders; we developed more confidence in being able to work very well together.  

Second, we have a shared product vision of creating a continuously up to date view of the risks (and soon the opportunities) of a financial institution’s client. Fenergo is a leader in KYC and CLM technology, supporting large financial institutions to uncover how their clients are expected to behave and which risk areas they may be exposed to.

This initial client profile that is created during onboarding can be complemented perfectly by Sentinels’ transaction monitoring which is aimed at understanding the ongoing activity and transaction behaviour. We break through what are originally siloed data points and separate solutions to give risk and compliance teams a more complete picture that will uncover more risks at a higher level of accuracy. 

Finally, we will be serving a wider client-base together. Where Fenergo serves the largest financial institutions, mainly tier 1 and 2 traditional banks, Sentinels has been working mostly with fintechs and its first medium sized challenger and traditional banks. Now we can accelerate the compliance programs of fintechs and banks the world over, with a strong combined offering. 

Marc Murphy CEO of Fenergo, said it well: “By adding transaction compliance to our existing client onboarding and product origination solutions, financial institutions can monitor and review client behaviour and identify risks in an ongoing basis. This blended approach to financial crime makes us perfectly placed to address the rising compliance challenges faced by financial institutions more efficiently.”

This is a sentiment I echo. By bringing together two solutions that have had significant impact on the compliance industry, we have created a product that will solve many of the most difficult compliance demands. As a unified solution we are positioned to assist financial institutions in tackling the compliance demands that they face, not only today, but also in the future.