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Introducing Sardine — Fraud prevention as a Service

We are excited to announce that today Sardine launches out of stealth to be the first Fraud prevention as a Service (FaaS) solution, built from the ground up for all digital institutions like cryptocurrency and neobank. We are designed to help fintech of all sizes, from the very early stage of product launch to larger enterprise companies, detect all types of financial crimes, from identity fraud at account opening through to payment fraud at account funding.

We have built the first platform that makes it easy for development teams of all sizes to easily incorporate Sardine into their platform’s current tech stack and be up and running in less than a day. With Sardine, a fraudster can swim but never hide.

Why Sardine

Plaid, Synapse, Marqeta, and other Banking-as-a-Service platforms lead a generational shift towards better financial services, making financial products more accessible than ever. A16Z has coined that every company will be a FinTech company, but only if fraud doesn’t kill them first!

Current anti-fraud solutions were built for e-commerce platforms in the last decade, relying heavily on catching fraudsters through shopping cart analytics or shipping addresses. However, with the rise in cryptocurrencies and neobanks, these previous solutions cannot adapt to new digital businesses, leading to poor fraud detection, high decline rates, and high false-positives.

In 2021, Statista found that there are close to 20,000 fintech startups, and we want to help these companies and next-gen fintech scale and grow with zero fraud.

The “FraudSquad” at Sardine

To achieve this goal, we’ve assembled an all-star team of fraud fighters from Coinbase, Revolut, Bolt, Uber, and PayPal. Our founding team has tackled fraud in some of the most complex industries — cryptocurrencies, e-commerce, ride-sharing, and cross-border banking. Collectively, we’ve scaled Coinbase by 1,000x while automating their Fraud and Identity programs; launched Revolut’s US business; fought ghost-riding at Uber; built one-click checkout at Bolt; and built fraud protection for the tens of thousands of merchants on PayPal.

We want to change companies’ perception and help them understand that not taking fraud into account at various stages of their business can hold them back. Fraud can hurt your launch, fraud can prevent you from growing as fast you want and finally, fraud measures if not applied judiciously can hurt your user experience.

Fraud can delay your launch by 6+ months

Our founding team was part of Revolut’s US launch and, while the fraud team at the time was very vigilant about opening up access to users who had been on our waitlist for several years, we still saw fraud happening from day 1. We learned early on that today’s fraudsters are much more proactive and cunning — they register years in advance to be ready to strike at launch.

Fraud can completely kill your traction

We’ve seen many fintech entrepreneurs hit amazing traction only to have fraud cause a complete standstill, including one startup whose 5,000 new customer signups/month at launch attracted a Series A term-sheet, which was withdrawn when they had to freeze to deal with fraud.

Fraud can hurt your user experience

As soon as companies have a fraud event, they too often add a ton of friction to onboarding or transaction flows. Then it takes them years to remove that friction. In the meantime, their fraud and risk team manually review fraudulent activities and, by the time they achieve product-market fit and grow like crazy, these companies quickly realize those manual operations teams were not built to-scale.

Here’s how we work

Sardine offers a balanced approach toward fraud vs. friction. Our single fraud detection platform combines millions of data points per customer around browser fingerprinting, mobile device attributes, network traffic, sensor data, intrinsic user behavior, and user identities across credit bureaus, telcos, social, banks and cards to identify bad actors quickly and help fintech customers truly authenticate users. Our technology works transparently in the background without impacting user experience while still being privacy-preserving (see demo video).

We have built the first zero-day fraud prevention technology to catch fraudsters no matter what they do, because we look for intrinsic behavior patterns that are impossible for them to hide.

  • We find that 5–10% of fintech and crypto signups nowadays are coming from mobile emulators, remote desktops or mobile device farms, as fraudsters can then get a clean device profile that hasn’t been blacklisted before. Our device intelligence technology detects mobile emulators by identifying the true operating system being used and using sensor data to detect if a phone is moving or stationary.
  • We monitor how customers type, tap, scroll or move their mouse in a privacy preserving manner and have found that good customers behave very differently than fraudsters: they never copy/paste their own name or their SSN. Another tell? While fraudster typing speed is fast, the dwell time per key is high indicating the use of old hardware with clunky spring keyboards.

Sardine gets digital businesses authentic customers (not just authenticated) by providing a holistic approach to fraud detection, including:

  • Foundational Fraud Score: Sardine delivers machine-learnt fraud scores based on proprietary Device Intelligence technology and user behavior biometrics to comprehensively detect fraudsters on all fronts.
  • Enhanced Card / ACH Fraud Protection: Sardine’s AI model utilizes thousands of additional signals to cross-check the identity behind the bank account and credit card against dozens of third-party data providers and partners — from credit bureaus, telcos, email intelligence, social media, card, and bank blacklist providers — to ensure that the user can be trusted.
  • KYC and Identity Fraud Protection: To provide a complete picture of a user’s identity, Sardine correlates information from multiple data and intelligence sources, including credit bureaus, email, social media, and phone numbers. Further, Sardine detects usage of stolen identities based on nuances in how fraudsters enter someone else’s information vs. how good customers provide their own information.
  • Account Takeover Prevention: Sardine enables companies to detect the most sophisticated account takeovers, from credential stuffing attacks and SIM swaps to SMShing and Vishing. Sardine’s multi-factor orchestration (MFA) makes it easy for companies to offer a frictionless way to enforce any additional authentication.
  • Continuous Transaction Monitoring: Sardine allows companies to centralize their user workflow and risk management across their Fraud, Compliance, and Trust & Safety teams through 100+ Transaction monitoring rules that cover any fraud, user security, and money laundering typologies, all the while empowering teams to create new approval/rejection rules on the fly and back-test them against historical data to benchmark accuracy.

Our customers

We are proud to share that we are working with many fintech, Crypto companies, and payment processors, including Dharma, Moonpay, Relay Financial, Unifimoney, with more to be announced soon.

  • We are helping Moonpay balance fraud and friction when folks buy crypto using a debit/credit card.
  • We are helping Dharma provide $25,000 per week of crypto buying power via ACH without worries over fraud.
  • We are helping Relay Financial and Unifimoney with all their fraud and identity needs.
“Sardine provides a perfect balance, helping us detect 3x more fraud than before while also reducing friction by 2x.

At Moonpay, our mission is to enable access to cryptocurrencies to the next billion customers. To do it, we need really strong defense against a wide variety of fraud attacks, without layering the kind of friction or fear that might turn off customers who are just getting started with crypto.”

Victor Faramond, Co-founder and CTO at Moonpay

Our network

We have been fortunate to work with some of the most helpful investors and advisors, who’ve rolled up sleeves alongside us and helped us build, and bring Sardine to life. We raised a seed round of $4.6M in Aug 2020 that was led by Ross Fubini at XYZ Ventures, with participation from Shelley Zhuang at 11.2 Capital, Anne Dwane at Village Global, Dan Portillo at SweatEquity, and Coinbase Ventures.

We were fortunate to have 25+ angel investors from US and EU who supported us in our seed round including, Adam Nash, former CEO and president of WealthFront; John Lilly, partner at Greylock; Dan Romero, former VP of Coinbase; Linda Xie, Partner, Scalar Capital; Ed Cooper, Head of Crypto at Revolut; Andre’ Mohamed, former Head of Wealth & Trading at Revolut; Cristian Strat, former Head of Trading Platform Engineering at Coinbase; Mircea Pasoi, Engineering Manager at Novi Financial; Ankit Jain, CEO, Infinitus and Former Founding Partner, Google’s Gradient Ventures; Anshu Sharma, CEO, Skyflow Privacy Vault; Ron Atzmon, Active Deputy Chairman at Au10tix; Sean Byrnes, CEO of Outlier.AI and LucidFog; Jeff Weinstein, Product Lead at Stripe; and CEOs and operators of many Silicon Valley companies.

We also created an operational and technical advisory board and are thrilled to announce that Eric Woodward, former President at Early Warning Systems, Dan Westgarth, COO at Deel, Andrei Savu, CEO at Moonsense and Brian Mullins, SVP of Risk at Chime have decided to join us on our journey!

We are thrilled to announce partnerships with some of the most visionary companies in identity and payments space, including Au10tix, Blockset by BRD, Chainalysis,, EmailAge from LexisNexis, Prove, Sentilink, Very Good Security and many others to be announced soon!

Join us on our mission

Our mission is to enable the digital economy to operate at scale without fraud.

We are just getting started, and we can’t do it alone. If you are building a company in crypto, NFTs, fintech or digital subscriptions, please reach out! You can join us on Slack, check us out on Twitter, and subscribe for updates. (We’re also hiring!)

Fraud PreventionFintech

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About the author
Soups Ranjan
Co-Founder, CEO