Estonian startup Salv has announced closing a funding round of €1.5 million, to expand its anti-money laundering pilot to other EU countries. The startup recently introduced its pilot programme ‘AML Bridge’ in Estonia, in cooperation with four of Estonia’s largest banks: LHV, Luminor, SEB Estonia and Swedbank Estonia, and Estonian Financial Supervisory Authority, Financial Intelligence Unit and Data Protection Inspectorate.
The startup’s AML Bridge pilot was introduced in Estonia two months ago. The aim of this pilot is threefold:
- To prove that collaborative crime-fighting in the banking industry is the best way to fight money laundering.
- To confirm that the Privacy Enhancing Technology (PET) enables safe, secure data sharing within the bounds of regulatory and data privacy laws in the European Union.
- If the pilot proves successful, it should set a new AML standard for financial institutions across Europe to follow in Estonia’s footsteps.
According to Taavi Tamkivi, the founder of Salv, several banks and fintech companies outside Estonia have expressed interest in applying a similar cooperative model. “Currently, we see Latvia, Lithuania and the United Kingdom as the most probable next countries to implement the AML Bridge proof of concepts. Expanding the AML Bridge enables to draw extensive conclusions that are not limited to one particular jurisdiction and work out a model that is scalable all over the world” he said.
The Estonian Ministry of Finance is looking forward to seeing the results of the current pilot project. “In order to prevent money laundering and identify risks more effectively, it is important to look to the future and encourage the private sector to adopt new technological solutions. Estonia is well-known in the world as a digital country. Therefore, it is natural that we also see great potential in innovation and new security technologies in preventing money laundering. Estonia’s Ministry of Finance and financial regulators are open to cooperation with the financial and technology sector to jointly seek and develop new innovative technologies to prevent money laundering better and identify related risks. The AML Bridge pilot project, which is based on PET technology, is one that has the potential to be successful both in Estonia and more widely across Europe,” said Märten Ross, Deputy Secretary-General for Financial Policy and External Relations of the Estonian Ministry of Finance.
Salv was founded in 2019 by Taavi Tamkivi (CEO), Jeff McClelland (COO), and Sergei Rumjantsev (CTO). Taavi built the AML, Fraud, and Know Your Customer (KYC) teams at TransferWise and Skype. Jeff started his career at ING Bank before leading fraud and analytics teams at Skype and setting up the analytics team at TransferWise. Sergei led the engineering team for KYC and Verification at TransferWise. Sten Tamkivi, the cousin of Taavi Tamkivi and former general manager of Skype, is the co-founder of Salv. Salv began developing its core technology in 2018 with a team mostly consisting of former Skype and TransferWise employees.
So far, Salv has raised more than €3.2 million in venture capital investments. The investors include Fly Ventures, Passion Capital, Seedcamp, Superangel, N26 founder Maximilian Tayenthal, Skype co-founder Toivo Annus, LHV founder Rain Lõhmus, former CIO for Estonia Taavi Kotka, former Skype Estonia CEO Sten Tamkivi, former Twilio CTO Ott Kaukver, former LexisNexis CEO Andrew Prozes and many others.
Superangel led the most recent round with support from existing investors including Skype co-founder Toivo Annus who joined posthumously. Superangel managing partner Rain Rannu considers Salv’s technology very likely to scale in the European banking industry. He said: “Estonia has had its share of challenges when it comes to money laundering in recent years, but it is great to see we’ve taken this as an opportunity to learn and put this unique expertise into developing new revolutionary solutions for crime-fighting. Combining Salv’s founding teams experience from building up two unicorns, with the learnings from banks in the recent years, and the support from the government should be a winning combination for a new solution, that isn’t limited to only one country. I am confident, we will see other European banks and fintech companies scaling AML cooperation procedures with Salv, and that’s the reason we decided to invest”.