Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Signifyd Fights Fraud With Online Sleuthing

Signifyd today launches tools for online merchants to fight fraud. It helps sellers make better choices about whether to accept or deny sales by piecing together online identities that match up with offline people.

SignifydSignifyd CEO Rajesh Ramanand, who formerly led risk-management divisions at FedEx and PayPal, calls this “context detection,” but really what he means is online sleuthing of buyers’ social graph, location, history and other factors to establish probable hypotheses (or a lack of them) for why someone might have made a fishy-looking transaction.

For instance, Ramanand showed how someone buying a one-way plane ticket (red flag!) for a passenger with a different name (red flag!) coming from another country (red flag!) could actually be a valid transaction, because a bit of LinkedIn and Facebook friend-list stalking establishes that the buyer lives in the arrival city, and shows the ticket is for a visit from his sister-in-law.

In the past, the transaction would likely have been automatically rejected, which would have meant a loss in revenue.

Signifyd plans to sell to merchants through relationships with Shopify and Magento, starting at $19 per month for the smallest businesses, who wouldn’t have been able to afford enterprise alternatives like Silver Tail Systems in the past.

In trials, Ramanand said Signifyd has lowered chargeback rates, reduced transactions that have to be manually reviewed, and bumped up revenue that might have been lost from rejected transactions. The 10-person company raised $2 million in seed funding from investors including Andreessen Horowitz (partner Scott Weiss was also the lead investor in Silver Tail before it was acquired by EMC).

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald