Sentinels

2 June / 2021

AI-powered transaction monitoring start-up Sentinels raises €5.7 million seed round led by INKEF Capital

Dutch artificial intelligence company Sentinels has raised £4.9 million (€5.7 million) in a seed funding round, led by INKEF Capital, complemented by strategic angel investors and industry leaders – including several members of the early Adyen team. The startup has now raised a total of £7.3m (€8.4m) to date.

Sentinels protects fintechs with an AI-powered transaction monitoring system, reducing repetitive tasks and workload and is relied upon by the likes of online payments unicorn Mollie. It was created in response to rising pressure from regulators on fintechs and traditional financial institutions to crack down on money laundering and other illegal activity passing through their platforms.
Sentinels will use this funding to further build out the product and expand its operations into the UK and beyond Europe, to North America, LatAm and APAC. The funding round also included investment from several members of the early Adyen team including its former EVP sales Thijn Lamers and Head of Growth Maikel Lobbezoo.

Dutch-based Sentinels was launched 18 months ago by Joost van Houten and is a spin-out from Slimmer AI, a European B2B AI venture studio which builds businesses that use AI to disrupt markets. As well as Mollie, it already counts Terrapay, Online Payment Platform, Ginger Payments and ManoBank among its roster of clients.

Unlike legacy compliance technology, Sentinels starts by analysing internal data siloes and augmenting them with external sources – such as adverse media, sanctions lists and merchant websites – to create a rich context. Expert logic, machine learning models and graph networks then sieve out only on the truly suspicious cases. A smart workflow then helps to automate repetitive tasks and make better decisions. The entire compliance process is simplified to one API.
Joost van Houten, Founder and CEO of Sentinels, commented: “In less than five years, we’ve seen countless companies enter the compliance space and a 10x increase in the number of compliance staff – and yet money laundering still remains a significant challenge for financial institutions.

“The big issue is that legacy technology is increasingly out-of-step with the needs of fintechs and other fast-growing institutions. Excessive reports and an unacceptably high number of false alarms puts undue resourcing pressure on companies that should be targeting growth, instead of being waylaid by time-consuming compliance admin.

“Our aim is to help financial institutions keep track of who their customers really are and how they behave – not only to understand risks, but also to serve them better. With this funding round, we’re excited to leverage the knowledge, network and expertise from INKEF, several key members of Adyen’s original founding team and select other fintech leaders.”

Kyang Yung, INKEF, added: “We were attracted to the impressive early traction; particularly Sentinels’ ability to convert small-to-large fintechs, as well as more traditional banks, who recognise the imperative to change. Coming from the payments industry myself, I see a huge market opportunity for Sentinels.”

About Sentinels: Sentinels is an intelligent transaction monitoring solution dedicated to data-driven compliance for the financial industry. With a team of more than 20 in-house engineers, Sentinels’ pragmatic-AI approach has a proven track record in improving compliance outcomes. Its secure cloud-based offering ensures a high level of customer trust and meets constantly changing regulatory requirements. For more information visit: Sentinels.ai

Investors’ overview

INKEF Capital is a venture capital firm based in Amsterdam, backing promising early stage companies in Europe. INKEF takes pride in being a patient, long-term investor with the ability to support companies through several rounds of funding. From the early stages of being a technology or life science venture, INKEF Capital supports entrepreneurs building their ideas into successful international businesses INKEF has also invested in GitLab, Remote and Silverflow, among others. For more information: INKEF.com

Strategic angel investors: Thijn Lamers – former EVP Global Sales of Adyen; Maikel Lobbezoo – former Head of Growth at Adyen; and several other fintech angels.