€5.7m seed round for AI-powered transaction monitoring fintech Sentinels to enable UK expansion

artificial intelligence

Dutch artificial intelligence company Sentinels has raised €5.7m in a seed funding round, led by INKEF Capital, complemented by strategic angel investors and industry leaders – including several members of the early Adyen team.

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The startup has now raised a total of €8.4m to date.

Sentinels protects fintechs with an AI-powered transaction monitoring system, reducing repetitive tasks and workload and is relied upon by the likes of online payments unicorn Mollie.

It was created in response to rising pressure from regulators on fintechs and traditional financial institutions alike to crack down on money laundering and other illegal activity passing through their platforms.

Sentinels will use this funding to further build out the product and expand its operations into the UK and beyond Europe, to North America, LatAm and APAC. The funding round also included investment from several members of the early Adyen team including its former EVP sales Thijn Lamers and Head of Growth Maikel Lobbezoo.

Dutch-based Sentinels was launched 18 months ago by Joost van Houten and is a spin-out from Slimmer AI, a European B2B AI venture studio which builds businesses that use AI to disrupt markets. As well as Mollie, it already counts Terrapay, Online Payment Platform, Ginger Payments and ManoBank among its roster of clients.

Unlike legacy compliance technology, Sentinels starts by analysing internal data siloes and augmenting them with external sources – such as adverse media, sanctions lists and merchant websites – to create a rich context. Expert logic, machine learning models and graph networks sieve out only on the truly suspicious cases. A smart workflow then helps to automate repetitive tasks and make better decisions. The entire compliance process is simplified to one API.

Joost van Houten, Founder and CEO of Sentinels, commented: “This funding round gives us a good platform to launch into key markets such as the UK, where we plan to bolster the team and work with similarly ambitious fintech companies.

“With the Kalifa Review earlier in the year, the UK really set out its stall as an attractive place for fast-moving start-ups like our own. This investment gives us the opportunity to help those businesses, who exist across the financial spectrum, to keep better track of their customers and how they behave – not only to understand risks, but also to serve them better.

“With this funding round, we’re excited to leverage the knowledge, network and expertise from INKEF, several key members of Adyen’s original founding team and select other fintech leaders.”

Kyang Yung, INKEF, added: “We were attracted to the impressive early traction; particularly Sentinels’ ability to convert small-to-large fintechs, as well as more traditional banks, who recognise the imperative to change. Coming from the payments industry myself, I see a huge market opportunity for Sentinels.”

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