Meet Jennifer Arnold, Co-Founder and CEO of MinervaAI
Tell us a little about your organization and why you got into this space?
MinervaAI is a modern deep-learning platform designed to automate real-time client risk assessment. “She’s” created by industry experts and ideal for KYC/onboarding, enhanced due diligence, investigations, and ongoing monitoring for AML/CFT. MinervaAI instantly leverages billions of pieces of open-source data, delivering deeper, more effective risk assessment results.
In less than 30 seconds, MinervaAI performs in-depth screening and risk assessment, contemplating over 4.5 billion data points in 55 languages. This wealth of information is automatically processed, collapsed into a manageable list of high-confidence consensus clusters, and assembled into a single audit-proof investigation report
My co-founder Victor Tay and I have spent over 20 years in the anti-money laundering discipline at some of Canada’s largest banks. We’ve led significant transformational initiatives that included both large scale organizational and process re-design, including defining and implementing the technology components. One of the biggest challenges we encountered was how to effectively address customer risk assessment and enhanced due diligence in a comprehensive, consistent way. Many organizations still use manual processes or out-dated name matching software that creates false-positives and unnecessary work. This leads to operational backlogs and increased cost, not to mention employee burn-out and dissatisfaction. This creates a negative image of the AML units within an organization. They struggle with the reputation that their approach is “holding the team back” putting their company at a competitive dis-advantage.
We wanted to change that by leveraging advancements in artificial intelligence and open-source data, to create an automated way to obtain valuable insights that were quantifiable and actionable. That’s how we met our co-founder and CTO Damian Tran. Damian’s work at the McMaster Stem Cell and Research Institute, using deep learning to discover more effective pharmaceuticals to treat leukemia, leveraged massive data sets to make more meaningful cancer treatment recommendations.
When you translate that over to what we're tackling in the anti-money laundering space, it’s a similar challenge. With AML you’re also trying to dive into these massive sources of structured and unstructured data; to marry that all together for a cogent narrative to make better business decisions, faster. All the information you collect from the various sources also needs to be tied together in the form of an auditable report that is consistent among each investigator and can stand up to regulatory scrutiny.
Through our zero-day UI or integrated API solution, MinervaAI allows our customers to create better, deeper risk assessment results upfront by leveraging this huge amount of available data. This translates into cost effectiveness and an improved customer experience. Most importantly, it stops financial crime where it starts, at the front door – by providing a clearer picture of the customers that are right for you.
Who are your clients and what types of regulatory challenges are they facing?
Our customers are always concerned with ensuring that they can live into their regulatory obligations. They really want to do a good job to protect their organization from the reputational and financial damage caused by financial crime. They have the added pressure of needing to do that in the most cost-effective way possible while providing the best overall experience for their customers.
Over the past year, we’ve seen more clarity in AML expectations for Payment providers and Crypto players. Both sectors are technology driven and highly competitive. Ensuring they maintain a frictionless onboarding experience while addressing AML risk is top of mind for them. We offer a zero-day UI solution that gets them up and running along with an API that can integrate directly into their onboarding systems and scale with them as their business grows. Our goal is to help organizations turn their AML units into a competitive advantage through smarter, faster, more intelligent customer risk assessments.
Most recently, we’ve seen an incredible amount of change in Sanctions lists due to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Because MinervaAI updates our Sanctions information daily, we’ve been able to give our customers confidence that they are screening with the most up to date information. We recently helped one of our digital bank customers perform a full customer review of over 25,000 records using our API over a 2-day period. The results were exceptional, and they now have peace of mind that they understand the full extent of risk within their organization.
Can you describe your underlying technology and what’s on your product roadmap for the next major planned release?
Ensuring our data pipeline has the best, most relevant, quality data is our top priority. We constantly cultivate and assess data from global sources to make sure our customers have what they need.
We are also excited to move ahead with a live beta of our Ongoing Monitoring solution, in late Q2, which will allow our customers to automate the ongoing Sanctions screening and Periodic Review of their existing customers.
Can you name some of your customers? TetraTrust, MOGO, Tango Card, EnPowered and some large players in the Crypto exchange and wallet sector.
Last question, can you share with us why Minerva.ai became a member of the Canadian RegTech Association? and do you have any suggestions on how we might enhance our support of RegTech companies?
While MinervaAI has only been an official member for just over 6 months, one of our very first demos for the CRTA membership occurred 3 years ago! We’ve seen the organization grow so much and become a beacon for RegTech in both Canada and the US!
We remain impressed with the calibre of the member firms and the CRTA leadership through Donna, Paul, Matt and the Advisory board. It creates a community that comes together on industry trends and issues, while giving Compliance and Technology leaders a place to access top talent and best in breed solutions to help address regulatory challenges.