In 2015, Accel made a seed investment in Simility, a machine learning-based fraud detection platform, and we subsequently led the Series A in 2017. It’s always rewarding to see our companies grow in impact and importance and today is no different, with Paypal’s $120 million acquisition of Simility.
Simility’s co-founders — Rahul, Uttam and Kedar — were well-known long before they started their own company, thanks to their fraud-fighting efforts and anti-abuse engineering accomplishments at Google. They saw first-hand how the digital transformation wave of the 2000’s also disrupted fraud, enabling increased anonymity, scale, ferocity, and sophistication of fraud attacks on business and commerce alike.
Fast-forward a few years, and fraudsters are getting more creative in finding and targeting exploitable patterns. These attacks can range from a handful of hackers stealing 100 million credit and debit card numbers, to the systemic exploitation of eCommerce businesses when small merchants buy several units of the same product and return what they aren’t able to resell.
Fraudsters are agnostic, going after challenger banks and 200-year old organizations alike. Smaller players aren’t equipped with the same infrastructure and deployment ability as larger businesses, so it’s quite difficult for these organizations to withstand a targeted onslaught. There is a huge gap in the market for an end-to-end, future-proof fraud detection platform that can fluidly adapt to the current state of fraud, and proactively protect businesses of all sizes.
Simility combines advanced machine learning expertise with data science and analysis prowess developed over years of fraud experience. Balancing security with customer experience, Simility enables product analysts in financial services, media and eCommerce to stay one step ahead of fraudsters and effectively fight online fraud, without waiting for IT departments to build them the software they needed.
With this acquisition, PayPal (who also participated in the Series A) is paving the way for Simility to fast-track its product building efforts alongside their own world-renowned fraud prevention teams, and is enabling them to automate risk management and transaction security for over 18 million merchants. As Rahul puts it, ‘We’re on a rocket, and we’re strapping on a nitro booster with Paypal.’ This acquisition also strengthens PayPal’s evolution into a robust financial services ecosystem for financial institutions, merchants and customers.
At Accel, we aim to be the investment partner of choice for entrepreneurs building global teams to succeed in global markets. We’re happy to have been able to partner with Simility across our U.S and India teams, supporting Simility’s successful and remarkable cross-border journey. And of course, we are excited to see the impact Simility’s acquisition will have in both the Indian ecosystem and the global fraud market in the years ahead. Congratulations, team Simility!
— Dinesh Katiyar & Ryan Sweeney