The FinTech and RegTech sectors have nurtured some of the UK’s fastest-growing technology scaleups.
Even the mighty tech oaks of today – such as the digital banks, lenders such as OakNorth and facial verification firm Onfido – were once acorns looking to become seedlings and put down solid roots.
Armalytix, which launched in 2020 and has raised £3.7 million in seed funding – including backing from senior figures in the world of banking and finance – is now looking to join them. The financial data intelligence firm is at the forefront of redefining standards for financial checks and anti-money laundering practices.
“Our strategy is about both deepening our roots in what we do well and branching out to new avenues,” CEO and co-founder Richard McCall tells TechBlast.
“My advice to fellow startup founders is to be ready to innovate at a fast pace and be open to trying lots of new things. It’s essential to maintain a constant review of how things are unfolding within your startup.
“In fact, I’d go a step further and say: don’t be afraid to fail quickly. Failure in this context isn’t a setback – it’s a stepping stone to learning what truly works.
“The startup journey is all about adaptability and learning through experience. By identifying what doesn’t work, you’re eliminating paths that lead to dead ends.”
McCall’s interest in problem-solving began with a degree in aerospace engineering, before becoming a chartered accountant at Deloitte. His career then shifted to the City, taking in decades of experience holding senior roles in house at major banking firms like Merrill Lynch and Citi Group.
He co-founded Armalytix to embrace the promise of open banking and the simplification of financial checks he felt could benefit consumers and firms alike.
“Our journey actually began with a focus on accounting, where we’d seen the pain of chasing down bank statements and dealing with client due diligence in a sector that was ripe for innovation,” he explains. “It was clear to us that there had to be a better way.
“We wanted to help financial institutions fulfil their consumer duty and AML obligations during a time of increasing regulation in the UK. Our tech simplifies this process, helping them understand their customers’ specific financial positions and achieve high-level compliance.”
He says “legal was next on our radar”, adding: “We recognised the hoops that legal and property firms had to jump through for checks in property transactions. So we developed a solution that equips these firms with the data, answers, and evidence they need.
“Insolvency and consumer credit came next, and then again with increasing financial crime and social responsibility rules, we saw an opportunity to bring our expertise to the gaming industry. We designed a straightforward digital route for betting and gaming firms, providing the tools they need in order to perform essential checks for their customers.
“Our journey has been fairly organic, recognising as we go that our tech can benefit various industries dealing with tighter regulations and dated technologies.”
So how does he identify an opportunity to tap into a new industry and collaborate with other companies?
“Each sector comes with its own challenges, with the intricacies of dealing with sector-specific financial crime, regulations and social responsibility checks. We recognise opportunities where our technology can make a meaningful impact,” he answers.
“Generally, we work with key regulators and partners in the sectors and this approach has allowed us to create tailor-made solutions that directly address specific pain points. We understand regulation and how hard it can be to navigate and we leverage our collective expertise to bring about positive changes in regulatory compliance for our customers and consumers.
“Our recent partnership with Betsmart Consulting showcases this approach in action… we are able to offer a solution that addresses both regulatory requirements and enhances user experience.”
Problem gambling can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families, says McCall: “It’s a significant concern in our society and our technology forms an important part of helping firms tackle this issue. Our tools are designed to give gaming operators the ability to swiftly and smoothly conduct affordability and source of funds checks.
“We equip operators with the tools to identify customers who might be at risk due to their gambling habits, backed up by specific, individual information on that customer. These checks are crucial in spotting signs of harm and vulnerability, ensuring that individuals are not caught in a cycle of financial distress due to compulsive gambling behaviour.”
Built on the principles of empowerment and transparency, Armalytix’s tech provides a secure platform for consumers to share their financial data through open banking.
Currently employing 16 people in the UK with a further outsourced development team of four, McCall says the business is looking to strengthen its roots while also venturing into new areas that align with its core competencies.
“We’ll be exploring fresh opportunities in sectors where we see potential for our solutions to make a meaningful difference,” he concludes.