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Anti-money laundering start-up raises $30 million

Peter Griffin, Editor. 02 November 2021, 9:05 am

A record year for start-up capital raising looks set to end on a strong note with Auckland-based FirstAML raising $30 million in a Series B funding round.

FirstAML is a "reg tech" company that does due diligence on companies and maintains a database of 350,000 entities making it easier for law firms, accountants and real estate agents and a wide range of other businesses to fulfil their "know your company" obligations on an ongoing basis. 

Scrutiny of companies is at an all-time high since the Pandora Papers revealed the hidden network of shell companies and tax-haven based ventures that are still used to transfer and hide wealth.

The Series B funding round was led by Blackbird Ventures and the international investor Headline. Existing investors Bedrock Capital, Icehouse Ventures and Pushpay founder Eliot Crowther also put more money into Auckland-based FirstAML. First AML raised $7.3 million in a Series A funding round last year.

Covid-19 has also seen burgeoning demand for anti-money laundering solutions as more commerce and transactions moved online quickly, requiring rapid due diligence. 

"The market for AML has grown nearly 20% in the past year to US$214 billion - there is a massive global market opportunity for us now," says First AML's co-founder and CEO Milan Cooper.

"With groundbreaking investigations around tax havens and money laundering across multiple countries, the AML compliance regime is now shifting to non-financial businesses globally. This raise will help us scale, fueling further global expansion and product development to supercharge our network effect," he adds.

FirstAML automates the identity verification of a company's customers and includes biometric identification for remote verification. The company has a global focus and has seen its headcount double to 180.

Boom time for cash-hungry start-ups

Last month, local non-custodial cryptocurrency exchange Easy Crypto raised $17 million and its first fundraising round and said it may seek an additional $10 million due to the strong investor appetite.

Electric bike maker UBCO said in September that it plans to raise around $40 million in a series B round that will be led by TPK Holdings, a Taiwan-based company that makes touch display modules. UBCO is also eyeing up an eventual Nasdaq listing, encouraged no doubt by the success of Rocket Lab.

Many other deals have also been done this year, which has seen unprecedented investor interest in New Zealand-based start-ups as well as lucrative exits for the likes of Vend, Timely and Ninja Kiwi. 

 


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