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Mike Lynch backs Featurespace as it raises £16.5m and strikes deal with WorldPay

Featurespace is based at The Hauser Forum, 21 JJ Thomson Avenue in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Featurespace is based at The Hauser Forum, 21 JJ Thomson Avenue in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Cambridge company, which uses machine learning to prevent fraud, continues its stellar year.

Martina King, CEO of Featurespace
Martina King, CEO of Featurespace

Featurespace, the Cambridge company that uses machine learning to prevent fraud, has continued its stellar year by raising £16.5million from venture capitalists – including Autonomy founder Mike Lynch – and agreeing a new partnership with Worldpay Group.

The funds will help the company, based in the Broers Building on the Hauser Forum, continue its international expansion and development of its software capabilities.

The funding round was led by Highland Europe, which invests in growth businesses, and featured two other new investors: Cambridge Science Park-based Worldpay Group plc, a leading global payment processing company, and Invoke Capital.

Further funding from existing investors, including Touchstone Innovations plc, NESTA, TTV Capital and Robert Sansom completed the round.

Featurespace staff, from left, Tim Kelby, Lucy Griffin, Simon Rodgers and Karthik Tadinada. Picture: Keith Heppell
Featurespace staff, from left, Tim Kelby, Lucy Griffin, Simon Rodgers and Karthik Tadinada. Picture: Keith Heppell

Mike Lynch, who founded Invoke Capital after selling Autonomy to HP for $11billion, said: “At Invoke, we aim to identify companies that can commercialise technologies with a demonstrative advantage over the competition. Featurespace is one such company.

“Its machine learning capabilities are hugely impressive, while it operates in a market that is potentially massive, given the ubiquity of online fraud. We look forward to supporting the company’s further growth and technology development.”

Featurespace’s ARIC platform uses adaptive behavioural analytics to detect anomalies in individual behaviour in real-time, spotting fraud and identifying risk.

It was created out of Cambridge University’s Engineering Department by applied statistics experts, the late Professor Bill Fitzgerald and Dave Excell, now Featurespace’s CTO.

The technology has been deployed to financial services and gaming organisations serving more than 180 countries. Its customers include Betfair, William Hill, Camelot, TSYS, Playtech, Vocalink Zappa and CashFlows.

Martina King, Featurespace CEO, said: “This funding round will enable us to continue to protect our expanding client base and their customers from real-time fraud attacks. These additional funds will also help support our continued international growth following the successful launch of our US offices earlier this year.”

Laurence Garrett, partner at Highland Europe, said: “Featurespace is one of the most exciting artificial intelligence companies we have seen, with huge potential for international expansion, since it offers one of the most advanced technologies in this area on the market.

“The demand for Featurespace’s products is great and I am delighted that this funding will help support its rapid growth in the US and other international markets. Martina King is an exceptional leader and we are truly looking forward to working with her and the team.”

In addition to investing, Worldpay has also formed a commercial partnership with Featurespace to accelerate the development of fraud prevention services for Worldpay’s merchant customers.

Worldpay will license Featurespace’s technology for merchants and use it to enhance its intelligent payments services.

It also intends to develop industry-leading fraud and risk management products for its customers, using its own data science capability and enterprise data platform.

Mark Kimber, chief information officer at Worldpay, said: “We are always looking to work with innovative companies and are confident that this partnership will deliver superior outcomes for our customers, by preventing more fraudulent transactions whilst reducing the number of genuine transactions that are declined.

“We’ve been incredibly impressed by the evolution of this business and believe it has the potential to grow significantly. With our investment in the company, we are looking forward to supporting the Featurespace team as they grow their business and capabilities.”

Martina added: “Featurespace and Worldpay will combine our considerable technology and experience to protect merchants against the ongoing fight against fraud and risk. We are delighted to welcome Worldpay to our list of customers and investors.”

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