Unit21: The Modern Infrastructure for Activity Monitoring

Arnav Bimbhet, Matt Jacobson and Ryan Koh | July 7, 2021

We are excited to partner with Unit21 CEO and co-founder Trisha Kothari, CTO and co-founder Clarence Chio, and the other members of the Unit21 team as they strive to build the leading no-code toolset for risk and compliance teams to combat suspicious financial activity.

In recent years, we have witnessed the rapid explosion of fintech and the benefits are profound, from democratized access to financial products to massively improved customer experiences and dramatically enhanced consumer value propositions. However, the proliferation of next-generation fintech platforms also has had an unfortunate unintended consequence: these platforms serve as new avenues for financial crime, and the potential ramifications are severe. If unprevented, financial crime can result in significant monetary losses, customer churn, and brand depreciation.

While monitoring suspicious activity is clearly a strategic imperative, today’s traditional approaches fail to meet the demands of risk and compliance teams. Fraud remains rampant and constantly evolving, while financial institutions are pressured to monitor more complex environments as they expand to different verticals and geographies. Third-party software solutions have typically lacked the flexibility to manage risk that is specific to the needs of individual companies. As a result, some companies have chosen to build in-house solutions to unlock greater customizability but face incremental costs and require dedicated engineering resources to maintain relevance and uptime. We believe there is tremendous opportunity to tackle digital financial crime by democratizing the ability for non-technical risk and compliance professionals to own their detection modeling and workflows, and Unit21 is well positioned to challenge the status quo.

As part of the early engineering team at Affirm, Trisha experienced firsthand the problems that fintech platforms faced as risk and compliance became increasingly important and expensive. Partnering with Clarence, who brings tremendous authority on the topic of machine learning and security from his role at Shape Security and as a lecturer at UC Berkeley, the team dedicated time to researching the intricacies of transaction monitoring. Their deep research involved conversing with over 300 anti-money laundering professionals and even participating in large RFP processes. With a meticulous focus on product and a relentless drive for their mission, the team soon founded Unit21, creating the modern infrastructure for activity monitoring.

Unit21 enables enterprises to better comply with regulations, focus developer resources, and continue to fight against unique cases of fraud. Through a simple API and dashboard, teams can manage money laundering, fraud, and other sophisticated risks across multiple segments in fintech. The no-code toolset democratizes access and offers customers unparalleled flexibility as non-technical teams can write their own rules without heavy reliance on engineers. Key benefits include empowering non-technical operators to own their detection modeling and workflow, centralizing data to significantly decrease resolution time from hours to minutes, and addressing compliance needs—all through one platform.

The efficacy and scalability of Unit21’s solution is impressive by any measure. To date, Unit21 has monitored over $100 billion in transactions and protected more than 20 million users across leading platforms, including Chime, Coinbase, Intuit, Gusto, and many more. Importantly, customers have benefited from significantly reduced false positive rates on fraudulent activity, improving by 50% or more.

We are delighted to support their vision of providing a flexible infrastructure layer for businesses to build robust and attuned data applications that address important problems that extend well beyond financial crime. ICONIQ Growth could not be more thrilled to partner with Trisha, Clarence and the phenomenal Unit21 team as they help organizations shine light into the darkest depths of suspicious activity and combat financial crime.