Business verification (KYB) has always been a challenging process. Vespia is on a mission to make starting a business relationship more accessible, easy, and fast for any company.
Vespia brand identity. Source: Vespia 2022.
Can you trust your husband? Wife? Your closest friend? Personal relationships are usually established over months, years, or even decades. But what about your business relationships: partners, customers, investors? Unless you wake up with them every morning, you’re likely going in blind, risking your reputation – not to mention time and money – every time you start doing business with someone new. Is there any real way you can be sure who you’re dealing with?
The process of KYB
Business verification, otherwise known as KYB (Know-Your-Business), is the process of verifying the existence and legitimacy of a business and the people connected to it. Also, it includes assessing the risks associated with taking this business as a customer, partner, supplier, or investor and making a decision on whether you wish to work with them or not.
KYB is a mandatory part of the AML process and is usually performed before onboarding the business as a customer or before signing a contract with them. KYB, just like KYC (Know-Your-Customer), is a must-have for those sectors that fall under the AML obligation.
However, we at Vespia believe that KYB is becoming broader than just AML compliance. Even if you are operating in a non-financial sector, we recommend implementing at least some steps of KYB into your onboarding process. Because essentially, don’t we all want to know who we are dealing with and that we are not being scammed?
How hard can it be?
You can always perform KYB yourself manually using the resources available. But, taking into account that it may take up to 16 weeks, why would you spend your time on this instead of concentrating on your core business? Not to mention the thousands of euros you need to spend and the countless sources and tools that you will need to combine into one report.
Some basic KYB steps are the following:
Requesting information from commercial registers, including original documents, such as Articles of Association, Lists of Shareholders, Certificates of Good Standing, Lists of beneficial owners (UBOs), etc.
Confirming that the company exists.
Understanding the business activities and markets of the company.
Verifying the board members, directors, shareholders, and UBOs.
Investigating the ownership structure of the company.
Running everyone and everything through the Politically Exposed Persons (PEP), sanctions lists, and adverse media databases.
Checking the identity of the important shareholders, UBOs, and representatives of the company.
Asking the company to fill in an AML questionnaire (to get a grasp about the source of funds, markets they operate in, product-related information, etc).
Making the company upload additional incorporation documents, if necessary.
And these are just some basic anti-money laundering requirements. Note that there are 195 countries out there, and many have multiple business registers in every state. Additionally, there are thousands and thousands of sanctions lists. And when it comes to PEPs - there is no single database of PEPs where you can conduct a simple search.
After all this, you still don’t know much about the business behind the search results. Do the owners post provocative tweets? Does the office actually exist? Is the business sustainable? The amount of information out there about a company and the people involved in it is vast. Even if you did have enough spare time to obtain it, it would take a lifetime to read through it all.
Working with a trusted partner is known to be cheaper, faster, and deliver better results. Relying on instinct and not doing your due diligence can risk your reputation, not to mention your bottom line. And what was once reliable, even cutting-edge ways of verifying the basics about a company are now looking positively prehistoric, as the brave new world of Regulatory Technology (RegTech) sprawls out in ever more unexpected directions. It’s time to join a movement that is engineered to stay ahead of the game. The way you gain intelligence about your business partners and customers has to evolve as quickly as the market does. As we Vespians say, #dontbeadinosaur.
Verification in general is becoming so much bigger than just AML compliance and moving out of the shadow of FinTech enablers. It’s about trust. We believe that even the Ubers, Airbnbs, and Amazons of the world will benefit from knowing who their business partners and customers are, not to mention the end-users who will feel fundamentally safer when making purchases, renting rooms and booking rides.
Vespia: home of the new trust superheroes
Vespia’s story started with me, Julia. After being part of Veriff, an identity verification (KYC) unicorn, where I saw how individuals could be verified in mere seconds, I moved into the prehistoric KYB industry and was shocked to find a landscape populated by utter dinosaurs. It was just chaos, with no established standard of verification, manual processes, inflexible business models, long onboarding and integration times, the worst excesses of 20th-century fiat banking, and prohibitively expensive compliance services.
Caption: Team Vespia. Source: Vespia 2022.
Our team is composed of a group of misfit specialists in identity verification, digital identity, crypto, sharing economy, and gaming. Knitted into our DNA are digital signatures, fast identity verification, and the ability to sense the RegTech Earth shifting beneath us. We Vespians are superheroes of a different breed: unlike those dinosaurs who are incapable of thinking beyond the scope of current legislation, we have an entirely fresh take on the KYB problem and therefore we’re the best candidates to start a KYB revolution.
Engineering trust with one click
Vespia works with businesses of any size and stage from a variety of industries. Whether you are a seed-stage FinTech startup with no compliance team, or you are a Binance-like crypto exchange with thousands of customers to onboard - we are here for you. Vespia provides real-time data in under 30 seconds from commercial registers of over 300 jurisdictions and 4000 AML databases. With the power of AI, we can verify a business faster and more accurately than a compliance department.
Why Vespia x Complok makes sense
Just like Complok, Vespia wants AML compliance to be more accessible and easy. Both of our teams have experience in the traditional AML world where we all saw that unless you have a dedicated department full of compliance experts and lawyers - you are on your own to figure this thing out. This is especially burdening to small businesses that get fined for not doing enough.
This is why it made perfect sense for Vespia and Complok to partner up and bring you more accessible and easy-to-follow knowledge about AML and KYB.
Help us understand your business verification needs
If you want to start with lower volumes, you can easily sign up and start using our Vespia Dashboard which works like a Google search. And for those of you who wish to seamlessly integrate Vespia into your existing flow, get in touch with us and we will show you our API and SDK solutions.
We believe that you should be able to concentrate on what you do best and leave the customer onboarding and verification to Vespia.