After senior careers in the U.S. Treasury Department and in law and development finance, we founded Sigma in 2017 while studying at MIT to bring forward a new, data-driven risk view of companies globally. We saw a real need that the entrepreneurs in us could not pass it up. We knew there was certainly a better way, with less than 1% of money laundering detected and billions of aid dollars going to the wrong beneficiaries each year.
Back then we called it “Compliance 2.0” and likened what we were building to credit ratings for financial crime compliance. And in doing so, we launched the world’s first integrity rating firm, created a completely new category that has only grown in both scale and need since we founded it, and unlocked an opportunity to cost-effectively automate investigative tasks that take a human hours to complete today.
Of course, our journey is not ours own. Along the way we have been backed by amazing investors and mentors. Brooks Gibbons and Gareth Jones, along with their team at Fintech Collective are ahead of their time and saw the potential in us as founders to bring to reality our vision. We were fortunate enough to also get to know and work with Matt Gorin and his partners at Contour Ventures who invest in early-stage technology companies and have an incredible track record building successful, profitable ventures.
And now, after years of work building out the concept, we welcome the Fitch Group, led by Shea Wallon and his team at Fitch Ventures, as investors in Sigma Ratings. Victor Hugo said, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come” - and well, our global collaboration with Fitch heralds this idea’s arrival.
So what does this all mean?
First, it means that we can grow our team and continue to build out our innovative offerings across both our web-based application, as well as our suite of APIs. This will result in an increasingly better customer experience.
Second, we can offer deeper, more complete global coverage. The market wants a seamless experience when it comes to non-credit risks, something that we believe we are better able to do than anyone on the market today. It also enables us, alongside Fitch, to explore the application of financial crime-related risk indicators in other areas like credit and ESG for example. To learn more, please check out our report.
Finally, it means we can invest in “what’s next” and continue to define the category we created. What does this look like? Well, broadly speaking, it is network focused. Fighting financial crime - as I learned in Afghanistan and in other posts - requires a network approach. Legacy providers with basic screening data do not provide the modern investigator what they need, nor are they equipped to do so at scale.
In sum, we are incredibly excited about what’s to come. We have the best customers (e.g., innovative and forward leaning), advisors and investors in the world, along with a team who is mission-focused on updating an outdated approach with one that can help the world make meaningful progress now.