Trust takes years to build in business and can be lost in minutes. On the decentralized due diligence platform, the relationship is reversed. Thanks to reusable ID technology, the London-based startup simplifies, accelerates, and makes this process more accessible.
An exemplary cycle of due diligence activities - a comprehensive examination, audit or review aimed at checking and confirming the condition of the audited entity, i.e., a company. Traditionally, this process requires periodic inspections in various areas, i.e., supply chain, funds, sustainable development, etc. In practice, it comes down to digging through hundreds and thousands of documents. Modern IT solutions contribute a new quality to this process.
What is Due Diligence?
The first association is to check the borrower's credit rating by the bank. What does he earn, has joint marital assets, and has any debts? However, it is not only financial institutions that are faced with the need to check potential partners.
Another example: a huge publicly traded company cooperates with a public relations agency from another country to operate in a foreign market. In order for a contract to be reached finalised, the company must know its potential subcontractor inside out. This is required through a commitment to shareholders, sensitive regulators and standard principles of good governance – not to mention reputation. Anyway, it also works the other way around. If a small company is interested in whether a large client has been associated with unethical activities - for example, breaking the embargo against Russia. The same thing will be repeated in logistics, supply chain, property management (e.g. credibility of subcontractors), consulting companies, law firms, and startup incubators.
However, looking from the inside, due diligence activities are challenging, tedious, and repetitive in nature. In addition, they come with extreme responsibility. Glossing over seemingly small facts is a recipe for real, big problems.
Therefore, companies must perform countless due diligence audits, which can last up to half a year, involving entire teams and generating considerable costs. In the meantime, laws may be changing, and the upshot of this is that the January result may need to be reassessed in May. Overburdened employees risk making mistakes while customers wait patiently for the process to be completed - and business hates to stand still. High audit costs, lengthy implementation time, and the need to conduct periodic inspections in many areas result in 60% of companies seeing compliance as a barrier to entering new markets.
In response to these challenges, IT solutions have been developed that allow for the automation and optimisation of due diligence processes through access to databases or the quick generation of documents. One of them is Umazi, a decentralized due diligence platform. Thanks to reusable ID technology, the London-based startup is creating digital identities for companies to simplify, accelerate and make the process more accessible.
In the avantgarde of automation of due diligence processes
Cindy van Niekerk has over 15 years of experience in large-scale banking implementations in London and Singapore. Before quitting her comfortable job to solve the problem of ineffective Due Diligence processes, she helped her parents renovate houses and run a nursery. In 2019, she founded the startup Umazi in London. Today, the platform she created enables companies to create a digital identity and conduct an automated due diligence process. Umazi solutions reduce risk and increase safety and efficiency, making it easier for companies to navigate the reefs and shallows of international markets.
Amazingly, due diligence in enterprises continues to be such an expensive, time-consuming process repeated repeatedly. Clearly, due diligence is ripe for technological innovation, and we are the first and only technology platform to take on this challenge. - Cindy van Niekerk, CEO of Umazi
Simply put, Umazi creates digital identities for businesses, which are verified and validated. These digital identities, containing due diligence data, are then stored on an open blockchain platform. This makes the entire auditing process more transparent and real-time, enabling financial institutions to manage their clients' data better. In this way, you can dispel doubts in a minute or generate a list of questions for a potential borrower, which will save both parties time and stress. The functionality of Umazi results from an in-depth analysis of due diligence processes and the accompanying problems.
UMAZI VS CHALLENGES IN DUE DILLIGENCE
Umazi has identified the main issues associated with Due Diligence:
A TIME AND RESOURCES CONSUMING PROCESS
Time to onboard a new customer:
High risk: 90-140 days
Medium risk: 30 - 80 days
Low risk: 40-90 days
MORE REQUIREMENTS AND REGULATIONS COMING UP INCL. ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVES (AMLD) AND SUPPLY CHAINS REGULATIONS
Anticipated new regulations will mean fintech companies will need to increase their budget for compliance by 20% while some banks are reporting that they will increase headcount capacity by 120%.
COST OF REFRESHING/PERIODIC REVIEWS (1-3-5 YEARS INTERVALS IN EU) AND OF DUE DILIGENCE REMEDIATION
Average cost: 400 - 1400 USD per one entity and rising. Anticipated new regulations will mean fintech companies will need to increase their budget for compliance by 20% while some banks are reporting that they will increase headcount capacity by 120%.
POOR RESULTS STEMMING FROM MANUAL SYSTEMS
"I'm only human - Of flesh and blood I'm made – Human - Born to make mistakes", – sang The Human League in their immortal 80's anthem. It is well known that specific checks, such as screening customers against blacklists, are prone to producing a high number of false positives and false negatives. Consider also, for example, a major supermarket chain that might have over 100,000 suppliers or an international company with a global network of suppliers. The current manual-based processes will not be able to cope.
“We lose 30-40% of our clients during onboarding because the process can take up to 12 weeks.” - claims a Japanese-based financial Institution reported in Proviti.
NEW RISKS RELATED TO GEOPOLITICALTENSIONS – TRADE BANS RELATED TO RUSSIAN AGGRESSION ON UKRAINE
Every company is responsible for having up-to-date knowledge of the sanctions rules, regulations, and targets administered and enforced by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Because sanctions can change daily — as has been the case with Russia — constant corporate due diligence is vital.
Customer due diligence is the most expensive activity in financial crime/customer life-cycle… due to the highly manual approach most institutions employ. Our experience demonstrates that up to 50% of this cost can be taken out by leveraging smart and proven technology. - Sean Kennedy, Partner, Oliver Wyman
Umazi smart due diligence solutions to serious problems
A pioneer in the field, Umazi is building a global trust network with the ambitious goal of revolutionizing due diligence. The solution harnesses the power of digital technology to securely hold validated data using verifiable credentials. Moreover, this information can be reused and updated in real time, saving (all parties involved) time and money. Umazi is paving the way for businesses to discard the traditional spreadsheet and instead embrace a smarter, automated workflow.
At the core of this process is eliminating repetition by creating digital corporate identities. Once due diligence is carried out, the results can be leveraged multiple times, freeing businesses from the chains of repetitive data entry and verification tasks.
A defining feature of Umazi's platform is its real-time risk assessment capability. As we may metaphorically describe it, the digital watchtower never sleeps, never takes coffee breaks, and experiences no stress. It remains constantly vigilant, offering businesses a powerful tool to manage risk in an increasingly complex and fast-paced world. It's a promising glimpse into the future of corporate compliance.
Fingo and Umazi: forging the future of due diligence together
Umazi found a capable technology partner in Fingo since almost the beginning of the project. Fingo's role in this partnership went beyond technical support; it contributed significantly to the development and deployment of Umazi's event-driven system, emphasising scalability, automation, and comprehensive data retention.
As a result, Fingo’s developers deployed .NET and React technologies to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) of the application that is now actively in production. Currently, Fingo is continuing to evolve the product dynamically.
The journey, however, is not a one-way street. Working with Umazi offered Fingo the chance to dive deeper into the industry. The insights gained from this expedition served to broaden Fingo's business perspective and augmented its comprehensive technology expertise.
As for Umazi's expansion strategy, it lies in the power of collaboration. The company is setting its sights on forming partnerships with international corporations. The goal is not just to scale their business but to reshape the landscape of due diligence to benefit everyone in the industry. Through these partnerships, Umazi seeks to amplify its impact, driving forward its mission of making due diligence more streamlined, accurate, and less cumbersome.