WiseTech (ASX: WTC) founder Richard White has taken a plunge into the corporate fight against financial crime by acquiring UK-based data security specialist Kyckr.
The $43.5 million acquisition has been made through White’s personal investment company RealWise KYK AV Pty Ltd and is the largest private investment made by the tech billionaire.
Kyckr is a corporate KYC (know your customer) and KYB (know your business) company that can rapidly determine the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) of assets in a matter of seconds. Normally it is a time-consuming process that could take up to a day using traditional methods.
The company, headed by fintech veteran Ian Henderson, has access to corporate information from 120 million businesses over 100 countries through 300 regulated sources.
White’s investment in Kyckr builds on his existing personal interests in technology companies such as music licensing service Songtradr, portable monitor company Espresso Displays and biotech Genics.
The investment in Kyckyr comes on the heels of a spike in financial fraud and money laundering activities globally which Kyckyr believes represents key growth opportunities for its business.
“Businesses today operate in an increasingly interconnected global marketplace, where compliance with laws and regulations related to anti-money laundering, sanctions and an ever-expanding list of financial crime typologies is becoming increasingly high risk, complex, time consuming and costly,” says White.
“I see in Kyckr the opportunity to replace manual processes and aggregate real-time data from disparate sources to provide a scalable, reliable, highly compliant and cost-effective KYC/KYB/UBO tech platform solution in the same way that WiseTech’s CargoWise has replaced multiple single-point legacy systems in the complex and fragmented global logistics sector.”
Kyckr enables organisations to verify, onboard and monitor their customers with instant access to primary source company data. According to the company, this helps businesses avoid the regulatory and commercial costs associated with using poor quality data and helps protect them against financial crime.
Henderson, who took the helm of Kyckr four years ago, remains as CEO of the company following White’s takeover. The Scotsman has about 30 years’ experience in the banking industry and is considered one of the UK’s top fintech executives.
Henderson, in a podcast late last year, simply described Kyckr as the business equivalent of an individual setting up a bank account, in that the company is able to verify the provenance of data for corporations the same way that banks identify individuals. He said that by using a network of corporate registries globally, the company’s software essentially allows business to join the dots and follow the ownership chain of companies and organisations.
The services of KYC companies have come to the fore over the past year following sanctions against Russian oligarchs in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, which saw authorities scrambling to seek out assets such as superyachts.
Henderson has welcomed White’s investment in Kyckyr, which he says will provide the company with the WiseTech founder’s ‘strategic guidance, support and vision’.
“We are embarking upon an exciting evolution of our powerful offering to broaden scope by building an integrated software solution to enable businesses to navigate the highly complex and dynamic compliance and counterparty risk management challenges that they face in an increasingly interconnected and digital marketplace,” he says.
White has a 40 per cent stake in WiseTech which has a current market capitalisation of $16.7 billion.
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