How were you able to pivot from Goldman Sachs to Riskified?
Goldman Sachs was an incredible place to start my post-college career, and I am really grateful for my time there. I learned a great deal and met some brilliant individuals and mentors who are still a big part of my life. At Goldman I realized that the traditional finance industry wasn’t a long-term fit for me, but I still wished to do something related to my interest in finance and economics which are what I studied at Columbia. I happened to find Riskified on AngelList and applied to a business development role. Riskified appealed to me because it had established success but was also still small and fast-growing. They had recently opened their NYC office so it felt like a place where I could really make an impact and be a part of growing something meaningful.
What drew you to start working at an eCommerce FinTech start up?
When I first started looking into tech start-ups, I honestly thought I’d be able to relate more to “fintech” since it might have something to do with my interest in finance, which is also what I was coming from. It turns out that there are tons of breeds of fintech and they don’t all have to do with actual finance. Regardless, I’m really thankful for where that false assumption landed me. I wanted to join a company with a solid product market fit, technology I believed in, and a huge market to capture, and I’ve been lucky to find all of that in Riskified.
What types of companies are Riskified clients? What other sectors are you looking to expand your client range for 2020?
We work with enterprise brands that sell significant volumes online. Riskified’s solution is for card-not-present purchases, so any merchant that does a large volume of that type of business - eCommerce, phone orders, even in-store kiosk orders - benefits from our solution. Riskified clients are primarily Fortune 500 and other huge enterprises/brands that sell online, think Ticketmaster, Wish, Gucci, lastminute.com and many others. We’ll continue that focus in 2020 - going after the world’s largest global eCommerce brands.
How is Riskified changing the eCommerce space in the next 3 years?
We’re bringing the latest technology to eCommerce and payments. eCommerce is growing at a huge rate, and it’s changing how consumers shop. We’re working to make that space more efficient so that consumers can participate in that economy and merchants can sell to anyone, anywhere.
In the next 3 years, we’ll take our experience and expertise and apply it more broadly. We’ve been helping merchants avoid fraud and increase approved orders, but there are a number of additional parts of the shopping experience that we can improve. We’ll expand our offerings to help merchants provide more omni-channel offerings. We’ll keep customer accounts safe, make sure merchants’ policies aren’t abused, increase the efficiency of the banking and payments space, and the list goes on.
How is Riskified combating fraud in the eCommerce space specifically?
We use advanced, machine-learning algorithms to look at hundreds of data points across billions of orders to determine indicators of legitimacy. Then we apply that knowledge in real time to give merchants a clear “approve” or “decline” decision, and we guarantee the orders we approve from fraud.
The accuracy of our technology is imperative - our survival as a company depends on it. Merchants traditionally relied on difficult-to-manage tools or in-house teams to handle fraud. We provide a complete solution that lets them focus on growing their business. By using Riskified, merchants approve orders they might have otherwise declined, eliminate the costs of fraud and provide a better customer experience.
What other sectors do you think Riskified can disrupt within the eCommerce space?
We’re known for helping merchants increase approved orders and avoid fraud at checkout, but we’re well equipped to help eCommerce merchants in many areas beyond that. Our ability to distinguish legitimate customers from bad actors has applications all over eCommerce. We can use our core technology and expertise to protect customer accounts, fight policy abuse and increase efficiency within banks and payments more broadly. There are likely other big merchant challenges on the horizon that we’ll be able to solve by leveraging those abilities in new and interesting ways. And, of course, we continue to innovate and develop new products and solutions. As merchants work to find new avenues to better serve their customers, we’ll work to find ways to help them. Reach out to Merrin on LinkedIn.