Sure, KYC typically stands for “know your customer”, not “know your company”, but that does not mean knowing your company is any less important. At the start of a new job, there is a learning curve, during which it is essential to not only understand the ins and outs of the role, but to also develop a sense of the team and the company as a whole. To start, some important questions to think about are:
- What is the purpose of the product?
- Who are the customers?
- What are near and future goals?
- How does the team work together and how does this dynamic fit into the company culture?
Given that I am only a couple of weeks into my role, I am sure that these answers will continue to change, but for now, I want to provide insight into what it is like to join the Alloy team and to share answers to these questions from a new team member’s point of view.
What is the purpose of the product?
Alloy is a fintech company that provides identity verification APIs to service clients’ KYC (know your customer — the real meaning of the abbreviation) and AML (anti-money laundering) needs. KYC is essentially a way for a financial services company to disclose that with the information they have, they can reasonably assume the true identities of their clients. From an AML perspective, KYC practices help ensure financial services companies don’t conduct business with individuals attempting to use funds for criminal activities, such as drug trafficking or terrorism financing.
Without effective KYC practices, financial services companies could face huge regulatory fines. Aside from the risk of fines, ineffective KYC practices could cost financial services companies lost customers. Think about it — a customer of a digital focused financial services product expects an instantaneous feedback loop when opening an account. The greater the number of potentially good customers who are required to wait for manual approval, the greater the risk these potential customers will become disinterested in the company at hand. In addition to a negative customer experience, ineffective KYC practices can lead to superfluous back office costs, and of course, missing fraud can come at exorbitant financial losses.
In short, effective KYC practices are essential and that is exactly what Alloy provides. Using a variety of data sources, Alloy combines data into decisioning criteria applied to customer applications in a matter of seconds, providing optimized results.
Who are the customers?
Our customers all have unique needs and are from various segments within the financial services industry. Some are fellow fintech firms, others include banks and credit unions. While there are a multitude of differences amongst our customers, the key similarity between them is that the function Alloy provides is critical given that we are part of their compliance and fraud solution, and we must understand their needs in order to best serve them.
What are near and future goals?
As a new team member, in order to comprehend the future state when still trying to figure out the current state, I’ve found it helpful to constantly question why things are done the way they are and to think of the ways in which improvements can be introduced. Having these discussions with teammates is a helpful way to better understand the company while also gaining a sense of existing goals and goals yet to come.
In starting at Alloy, I’ve learned about the identity verification services we provide during a client’s onboarding process, as well as ways in which we are looking to expand our core offering. One goal is to provide clients with a new service — Alloy Ongoing. The potential for fraud does not disappear after onboarding. Once an account is opened, there is a risk of first-party (account holder tries to defraud the company or does not meet regulatory requirements despite initial account approval) and third-party fraud (account holder’s identity is compromised by fraudster who gains unauthorized access to account). While our current product is focused on onboarding, Alloy Ongoing provides the potential for an end-to-end fraud prevention service. Through the process of understanding Alloy Ongoing, I gained a greater sense of Alloy’s mission to serve as a fraud domain expert throughout the lifetime of end users while also building value for its clients.
How does the team work together and how does this dynamic fit into the company culture?
For me, understanding the Alloy team dynamic has included a variety of steps, ranging from asking other team members about their roles to joining candid office (or Slack) conversations or debates. Sometimes, the greatest understanding of team members can come in informal conversations, such as during Alloy’s offsite, in which I learned who has competitive tendencies, but don’t worry, I won’t share any names.
Based on my short time with the team, it is clear that Alloy has a passionate, collaborative team. Whether discussing the Alloy product and sharing fraud industry knowledge, or expressing opinions about urban transit systems in our “transportation” Slack channel, Alloy team members are excited to share ideas and to learn from fellow team members.
In trying to find answers to these questions, I have recognized that Alloy is made up of a dedicated group of people eager to positively influence financial services and to enable greater access to financial products. As I continue my journey with Alloy, I am sure that many ideas will transform and that I’ll constantly have new realizations surrounding the company’s core, but one thing I know for sure is that Alloy is dedicated to bringing about customer success.