Searchspace offers fraud detection – and CRM

Fraud has always been big business, but with the rise of electronic commerce, it has ballooned to enormous proportions. As a result, companies are finally starting to invest heavily in fraud detection software.

Searchspace of the UK is well placed to profit from that expenditure. The company, which started out as a research project


Company: Searchspace

Main activity/products: Fraud detection and customer relationship management software

Founded: 1993

CEO: Jason Kingdon

HQ: London, England

Status: Privately held. Approximately £15 million raised in three rounds of venture capital financing from companies such as 3i and HSBC Private Equity.

Revenues: £12 million in the year to the end of March 2002.

Key competitors: SAS Institute, Fair Isaacs

Infoconomy comment: The market for fraud detection software is booming, with no sign of it abating in the near future. Searchspace’s software is highly regarded, but its cost may deter many potential customers.



in University College London’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory in the early 1990s, provides a modular platform into which users can plug a range of fraud detection components, depending on the type of fraud they need to identify. This platform includes an operational data store, a profiling engine and workflow capabilities.

Organisations can then purchase individual components called ‘Sentinels’ to analyse cheque processing, credit card transactions, cash machine transactions and to make the connections between transactions to help uncover criminal money laundering.

These sentinels use pattern recognition technology tuned for the particular tasks, but Searchspace has not stopped there. Recognising that the architecture and many of the processes behind fraud detection and customer relationship management are so similar, the company has developed modules that promise to help companies work out who their most and least profitable customers are and to identify new sales leads.

In this way, companies can uncover such details as the overall net worth of a customer or whether they have a habit of returning goods. CEO Jason Kingdon believes that it could even develop sentinels for such functions as human resources and supply chain optimisation.

This breadth has impressed analysts, such as Giga Information Group’s Andrew Bartels. However, it is a strictly high-end product. “Searchspace has probably the most capable product for money laundering compliance, but also the most expensive,” says Bartels.

More significant has been the deals Searchspace has cut with vendors such as Ericsson and IBM Global Services to enable it to sell its software into vertical sectors such as telecoms and financial services respectively.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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