Interview With Julia Ront - Founder & CEO of Vespia

Updated on: March 25, 2024
Shauli Zacks Shauli Zacks
Updated on: March 25, 2024

In an insightful interview with SafetyDetectives, Julia Ront, the Founder and CEO of Vespia, shares her journey from the roots of identity verification processes at Veriff to the innovative inception of Vespia. Delving into the complexities of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and regulatory technologies, Julia and her co-founder Anton identified a crucial gap in the market for efficient AML and business verification solutions. With a mission to streamline and demystify the AML compliance process, Vespia aims to make it accessible for companies of all sizes.

What inspired the founding of Vespia, and how did your professional background influence its inception?

My journey with Vespia commenced in 2017 during my deep involvement in private person identity verification (KYC) processes at Veriff, an Estonian KYC unicorn. Meeting Anton (co-founder and CTO at Vespia) who was then making strides at Agrello, we realized that our shared passion for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and regulatory technology (RegTech) could lead to something groundbreaking. After my tenure at Veriff, I moved on to other AML projects, where I witnessed firsthand the chaotic and unstandardized world of AML compliance. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, we noticed a significant gap in efficient AML and business verification (KYB) solutions. While the market for KYC was relatively established, business verifications remained archaic and manual, as exemplified by the cumbersome process at platforms like Binance, Revolut, etc for opening a business account. This gap, along with our expertise in AI and cybersecurity, led to the establishment of Vespia, envisioned as a platform to simplify and standardize KYB and AML processes, aiming to make AML compliance accessible for any company.

Can you describe the mission of Vespia and the problem it aims to solve in today’s digital economy?

Vespia’s mission is to redefine the landscape of KYB and AML compliance in the digital economy. These processes have traditionally been cumbersome, time-consuming, and largely manual, resulting in operational inefficiencies. Vespia addresses this issue by offering a fast, AI-driven solution for business verification. Our objective is to make AML compliance seamless and accessible, enabling businesses to quickly verify and onboard any business entity, thus ensuring continuous compliance without the usual delays and inefficiencies.

This ease in AML compliance allows our customers to onboard more clients swiftly and reduces their risk of regulatory fines. Furthermore, our platform aids in maintaining a company’s reputation by avoiding the onboarding of dubious businesses. Our approach also democratizes access to financial services through simplified KYB/KYC processes.

In the context of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations, how does Vespia help businesses stay compliant?

In the realm of AML regulations, Vespia offers a critical service to businesses. Our AI-driven platform automates and streamlines the verification and ongoing monitoring of business entities. It functions as an all-in-one AML solution that can verify any company, individual, or transaction. The platform’s modularity allows clients to select needed features without disrupting their existing processes.

Its operation is akin to a Google search: you input the name of the entity you wish to verify and receive results in seconds, pulling data from thousands of sources, including commercial registers, sanctions lists, business databases, and social media. However, the standout feature is Julia AI, our AI compliance assistant. Julia AI elucidates the context of the data, highlights risks, alerts about changes in customer profiles, and provides suggestions for maintaining AML compliance.

What role do you believe transparency plays in building trust between businesses and their clients in the digital age?

In today’s digital economy, transparency is fundamental in fostering trust between businesses and their clients. Clear communication about compliance practices and verification processes bolsters confidence and credibility. Vespia enhances this transparency by providing clear, comprehensive insights into a business’s compliance status, backed by data-driven evidence. An interesting aspect of AML compliance is that, often, businesses desire transparency but are impeded by outdated processes or unclear guidelines. Hence, our mission at Vespia is to develop solutions that simplify and facilitate transparency for businesses navigating the complexities of compliance.

What are the biggest challenges businesses face in implementing effective AML and fraud prevention strategies?

Businesses encounter several challenges in implementing effective AML and fraud prevention strategies. These include staying abreast of ever-changing global regulations, managing and interpreting vast amounts of data, and integrating advanced technological solutions seamlessly. Traditional AML processes are often resource-intensive, and the need for real-time responses in identifying and preventing potential fraud adds complexity. Typically, businesses use departments full of people employing hundreds of AML tools, analyzing data manually, and checking off items in their Excel spreadsheets.

This results in significant financial expenditure, and I mean BILLIONS of dollars, on AML compliance, with onboarding times for business customers extending up to four months. Manual processes are also prone to human error and misguided decisions by compliance officers under pressure to expedite deals. Furthermore, a significant challenge is the failure to update tools and customer profiles in response to changing global contexts, such as new sanctions, risk regions, or evolving regulations. Here, our AI plays a crucial role by tracking external changes and notifying businesses about necessary updates, thereby streamlining compliance and adaptation.

In your view, what are the most significant trends shaping the future of digital identity verification?

The most significant trends shaping the future of digital identity verification include the increased adoption of AI and blockchain technologies, promising enhanced accuracy and security. The use of AI in decision-making, context understanding, and connecting dots with other data about the same entity is revolutionizing verification processes. The expanding scope of verification, not limited to financial institutions but extending to platforms like Tinder, Uber, Amazon, and Google, underscores the growing need for robust identity verification, even for businesses without decades of KYC, KYB, or AML experience.

Additionally, the shift towards continuous monitoring and real-time analysis is critical for adapting to changing threats and regulatory needs. The market is pushing businesses to optimize and cut costs, emphasizing the importance of effective AML compliance to avoid hefty fines.

Another emerging trend is the concept of reusable identity, where verification is done once, granting users a token or an account that facilitates quicker access in future instances. This trend addresses the public’s growing fatigue with lengthy and repetitive onboarding processes.

These trends indicate a future where digital identity verification is more secure, user-centric, and adaptable to the evolving challenges and opportunities of the digital landscape.

About the Author
Shauli Zacks
Updated on: March 25, 2024

About the Author

Shauli Zacks is a tech enthusiast who has reviewed and compared hundreds of programs in multiple niches, including cybersecurity, office and productivity tools, and parental control apps. He enjoys researching and understanding what features are important to the people using these tools.