In this interview, we will introduce you to Identrics’ CEO, Vladimir Petkov. Vladimir has worked in business development, digital media, and automation integration for almost 20 years. He lectures at Sofia University and creates a number of well-known podcasts in addition to his work with Identrics and A Data Pro.
In October, Vladimir attended the annual Money 20/20 Conference in Las Vegas, US. Read on and get to know about the event through Vladimir’s eyes.
Q: What is Money 20/20 and who attends it?
The event is probably the largest conference and expo in the world dedicated to fintech technology and finance. I could divide the companies that were part of the event into the following categories:
- The first one is companies that somehow look to disrupt the field of bank cards and banking operations.
- Next, we have all-digital banks or companies that do something with electronic payments.
- Another category is companies dealing with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
- And lastly, the so-called Regtech, or regulation technology companies.
I was part of a trade mission in the US, supported by the Bulgarian state and the European Union.
Q: Do you think that Identrics’ solutions can successfully help such Regtech and Fintech companies in their business?
Identrics has a series of technologies that enable the monitoring and aggregation of information from open sources of information. This, for instance, could be the news or, perhaps, structured sources of information that mention sanctioned people.
Identrics also has specific technologies that can recognise certain events that are related to politicians and their relatives in unstructured text, as regulations also affect this type of data.
Identrics is not a company that directly sells off-the-shelf, prebuilt databases to end users. Rather, we provide our clients with improvements on existing solutions that are relevant to their specific processes. This not only saves them significant costs, but also allows them to monitor considerably more sources and, ultimately, provide a better product.
Q: Can Identrics help companies identify fake news and combat disinformation?
At the moment, especially in the European Union, perhaps some of the smartest, savviest people out there are dealing with solving this very problem. There are many challenges to building a fully automated system that can tell whether or not a piece of news is fake.
Here, I would firstly say that there appears to be a lack of a clear definition of what fake news actually are. Are they news stories in which there are simply false facts, or are they news stories in which the interpretation of facts is done through some manipulation – ones in which facts get twisted, making someone out there some extra dollars.
The news that we classify as fake rarely contains just false facts. In most cases, the facts are true but some are omitted, while others are completely distorted, thereby manipulating and misleading the public.
Technologies which use the help of Identrics help analysts and researchers who are concerned with detecting propaganda, disinformation, and misinformation, in order to monitor a multitude of sources and have a much more objective judgement about where to look.
Q: Going back to Money 20/20, you mentioned how Identrics can help individual companies. What types of people are interested in Identrics’ solutions and how can they be useful for their companies?
- Chief Product Officers
Well, the people who are interested in Identrics’ solutions are the so-called Chief Product Officers. These are usually the specialists who are responsible for creating the product – the solution to the problem that a company engaged in Regtech aims to solve.
These are people who know their customers’ issues and are also actively looking for solutions to those problems. These are also the people who buy the data to be used or work with the development teams. This is the first person we work with.
- Chief Compliance Officers
The second person we work with is the so-called Chief Compliance Officer. These are usually specialists who work in larger organisations, particularly banking and financial organisations, whose task is to take care of their platform’s users, checking whether they have, in any way, been involved inr money laundering or are designated criminals. They ensure that their company complies with money laundering legislation.
These officers usually have a team of analysts who need a lot of data and automation, and they need a whole range of different technologies that the Regtech ecosystem provides.
- Data Specialists
And the third type of person – specialists who deal with the purchase of information databases. Typically, these specialists either work with the Chief Compliance Officers or the Chief Product Officers and their job is to buy the data that is needed.
Q: Why do all these companies have to buy data?
It is necessary because the creation of such databases is an extremely difficult, time-consuming and expensive activity, which requires the relevant organisation to have such a team – an intelligence team, so to speak.
Q: What are the main aspects that should be paid attention to when choosing such a data provider from the specialists you just mentioned?
The first and most important aspect is how often this data is updated in the database. I will give an example with parliamentary elections in Bulgaria. Usually, deputies change every four years, but here we change them every few months. We also have interim governments, ministers are changing, and so on.
It is very important for the people who follow Bulgarian politics to know who the new MPs or the new ministers are, who their relatives are, and so on. This should be described in a database so that everyone who consumes it can be sure that they are compliant with the relevant legislation, so they can know their customers better.
Еach country, however, has its specifics, and each has a separate jurisdiction. So, that’s another thing to watch out for.
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