Ireland’s Trustev named Europe’s Top Start-up by European Commission

14 Jun 2013

Members of Trustev. (From left) Chris Kennedy, Pat Phelan and John Peavoy

European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes last night named fast-emerging digital fingerprint start-up Trustev as Europe’s Top Start-up, as part of the commission’s Tech All Star initiative.

In a marathon battle that swept Berlin at Angels Bootcamp and London at the UK’s Founders Forum, at the invitation-only, elite event for global investors and start-up founders from across the globe, Trustev beat off competition from SnapFashion and EcoChain to emerge victorious.

In Berlin and London, Trustev and 12 Tech All Star competitors, including another Irish start-up, Temptster presented in front of some of the world’s top investors, where they were grilled on all aspects of their businesses and technologies.

Trustev provides real-time, online identity verification for businesses operating online so merchants can be certain of who they’re transacting with and eliminate the possibility of fraud. Their proprietary social fingerprinting technology uses the ridges created by a user’s online interactions to determine whether or not they’re a real person and then matches that with other data sources to confirm their identity, while ensuring the user’s privacy at all times.

Solving the world’s online fraud problem

Accepting the award from Kroes, Trustev co-founder and CEO Pat Phelan thanked the team behind Trustev and his co-founder Chris Kennedy for their work to date.

“When Chris and I started off, we had this giant problem of online fraud in front of us. Along the road we’ve been so lucky to find and bring together an amazing team of people and slowly but surely we know that we’ll be able to eliminate the scourge of fraud that’s preventing online commerce from reaching its potential.

“We’d especially like to thank all the other technology start-ups in Ireland who have helped us behind the scenes, without their support and encouragement it would have been a very lonely road to get here; that support is what really makes Ireland the best place in Europe to start a start-up.”

Trustev has raised up to €250,000 in funding so far and is in the process of raising further funding. In recent months, it was it selected for Telefónica’s Wayra programme in Dublin where it was given office space and received a €40,000 injection.

According to Goldman Sachs, estimated turnover from e-commerce in 2014 will hit US$1trn, out of which online fraud will be a US$20bn a year problem.

Trustev employs nine people in Dublin and Cork and expects to employ 20 people by the end of the summer.

In recent weeks, it recruited ex-Facebook data scientist Diarmuid Thoma as its new “data overlord.”

The company has also appointed an influential advisory team that includes Trevor Healy, who sold his company Amobee to Singtel for US$321m last month, digital entrepreneur Dylan Collins, who sold his company Demonware to Activision in 2006 for US$15m and is now leading Box of Awesome in the UK, David Coallier of EngineYard and Anil Hansjee, the former head of M&A at Google EMEA.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years