Startup First AML opens UK doors to rush of inbound business enquiries

Milan Cooper, Chief Executive Officer at First AML

Auckland-based anti-money laundering tech scale up First AML has launched in the United Kingdom after experiencing increased demand for solutions that help businesses manage compliance requirements and the heightened risk of regulatory fines in today’s climate.

First AML recently announced its NZ$30 million Series B funding round which included venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures, Headline Ventures’ European arm, as well as existing investors, Pushpay founder Eliot Crowther, Bedrock Capital, and Icehouse Ventures.

What is First AML’s market reach?

First AML’s co-founder Bion Behdin is relocating to the London office, launching with 25 staff locally, including UK Country Manager Simon Luke. It has 100 employees based in Auckland and 20 staff in Sydney. The company plans to recruit 100 UK staff by the end of 2022.

First AML CEO, Milan Cooper, says: “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 right now.”

“First AML’s clients love our solution and it’s proving to be the best approach to streamlining customer due diligence. With investigations around tax havens and money laundering in many countries, the AML compliance regime is a key priority for accounting, law and real estate.”

Commenting on First AML’s United Kingdom expansion, Behdin said: “We’re excited to offer regulatory technology built for reporting entities, removing the manual burden, and making compliance faster and more accurate. Regtech is usually aimed at the major banks.”

“However, if we want our economy to grow, we have to help the next layer of financiers become more efficient, and to combat money laundering through law, accounting and real estate firms. And of course with the current focus on London as a Russian money-laundering hub, SMEs need solutions to manage compliance with increasing regulation and threats.”

What makes First AML a unique market player?

First AML simplifies the manual AML Customer Due Diligence/Know Your Customer process. Its cloud-based platform, team of analysts and global pre-verified entity ecosystem, automates the AML compliance process by taking it completely off the user’s hands.

Data is also stored in a global, complex entity database, which allows for instant retrievals that is updated upon each request, delivering efficiency improvements and cost savings.

Venture capital firm Blackbird is using First AML. Business operations manager, Dan Danilov, says: “It’s reduced our AML case bottleneck, removing the burden of collecting and verifying AML documents, with an easy-to-use dashboard that tracks the status of all our cases. Many of our investors have reached out to let us know how much better the experience is.”

Behdin founded First AML in 2017 with Milan Cooper and Chris Caigou, who were corporate bankers when the first phase of AML regulations were introduced for banks in 2013.