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SEON founder: ‘The right VC partner knows that customers come first’ – Fi5

Tamas Kadar is the co-founder and CEO of SEON, an Anglo-Hungarian fraud prevention company that spots potential scammers in online transactions.

Kadar founded SEON in 2017 with his co-founder when they were still at university. The company’s technology looks at the “digital footprint” of customers to find fake accounts and prevent fraud.

In April 2022, SEON raised £72m in Series B funding. It counts fintech companies Revolut, Patreon and Mollie among its customers.

The London-headquartered company has 280 members of staff spread across four continents.

In this week’s Founder in Five Q&A, Kadar explains why the right investor is more important than higher funding, shares why he’s impressed by Snowflake’s growth story and explains why AI holds high potential in anti-money laundering.

1. What funding advice would you give to a first-time founder?

Tamas Kadar: Find an investment partner that you can trust. First-time founders often fall into the trap of going for the highest amount of funding on offer to them, but it’s more important to find partners that fully understand your vision and can add value.

That’s what we’ve leveraged from our relationship with IVP, and it’s something I’m very grateful for. Ultimately, nobody builds a great business alone, and nobody has all the skills to make a truly transformative company without needing help, so having a great investment partner is important.

2. Which company’s growth story are you most impressed with?

TK: I’ve always been really impressed with Snowflake, and have watched the company closely as it moved through funding rounds and into its highly publicised and successful IPO a few years ago.

Over its history, the company has continually underlined its clear and straightforward mission to mobilise the world’s data, building this around a strong customer-centric approach. We’re taking a similar approach at SEON, but with a focus on building a fraud-free world and I believe it’s been a big part of our success.

3. What’s a common mistake that you see founders make?

TK: As a founder, it’s so essential to remain undistracted by external forces, and to remain entirely focused on the markets and customers you serve. Of course, it’s important to manage investor relations alongside this, but the right VC partners will understand that your customers must always come first.

Unfortunately, I’ve watched a lot of good businesses come unstuck by forgetting these simple principles.

4. In another life you’d be?

TK: It’d be great to say something ‘out-of-the-box’ like a Formula 1 driver, or an astronaut, but in reality, I think my skills are most suited to designing and building technologies that improve the workflows of businesses. So, if I had never taken the decision to start SEON, then I think I’d still be doing something relatively similar.

Technology has been my passion since I was young, and as a result, it’s always been what I’m most drawn to. I’ve always been interested in building solutions that make people’s lives easier, whether that be tackling issues like financial crime, or any of the other challenges we currently face.

5. Excluding your sector, which nascent technology holds the most promise?

TK: It’s becoming increasingly hard to call AI ‘nascent’, but I think its application in areas that might not be immediately obvious are still massively underrated. Take, for example, its potential use in the world of anti-money laundering and know-your-customer checks.

Together, these two issues are presenting increasingly difficult challenges to businesses and beginning to require significant time and cost resources to address. Thankfully, new solutions, which incorporate AI and machine learning are now coming to market that dramatically streamline both processes.

Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative tech startups, scaleups and unicorns – is published every Friday.