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Brazilian Fintech Vaas raises USD$2M to counter transaction fraud through Pix

October 26, 2023
Por
Manuela Tecchio
Manuela Tecchio
Repórter e redatora na CNN Brasil
📷
LinkedIn
Founded by the trio that created Decora, the startup will officially launch its platform in November this year.
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About the Fintech

Vaas, a startup that develops technologies against financial fraud, has just raised R$10 million in a pre-seed led by ABSeed. Created in Florianópolis by the same trio that founded Decora, a 3D decoration company, the company focuses on transactions related to the cryptocurrency universe, but is also gearing up to combat Pix-related scams.

The company, which is still in a proof-of-concept phase with large enterprises, does not plan to officially launch its blockchain transaction-tracking platform until next month. The solution will already track transactions through Pix, but the plan is to develop anti-fraud tools for this type of payment, which has been one of the main targets of fraudsters.

In the cryptocurrency world, the startup uses artificial intelligence to check the entire history of an asset portfolio from day one and identify atypical or suspicious transactions. Even if the money comes from previous wallets, it is possible to operate in this way thanks to the blockchain, which functions as an unalterable (in theory) and decentralised notary record.

As the cryptocurrency market has become more popular in recent years, with more traditional banks and financial institutions starting to offer such assets on their investment shelves, Vaas realised there was a place for it as a company that helps these players walk the line, giving more transparency to transactions.

"With the advancement of these technologies, financial institutions and banks will have to follow compliance rules and be in line with central banks, carry out their money laundering prevention, know where the money is coming from," says Gustavo Tremel, CEO of Vaas.

Investments

The business started with an initial investment of about R$5 million from the three founding partners, Tremel, Daniel Smolenaars and Paulo Orione, after Decora was sold for $100 million to CreativeDrive. Not knowing exactly what the solution would be, but betting that it would be the future, the trio created a coworking space in the capital of the state of Santa Catarina, Hub Web 3. There they brought together more than 100 people working on 40 different projects. Vaas was born out of this environment.

Now, for the first time, the startup brings institutional investors to the table. In addition to ABSeed, Fuse Capital and Honey Island by 4UM have joined. With the funds, Vaas will implement its go-to-market strategy and develop new products.

Today, the startup is looking to produce information - using local data and cross-referencing - and cooperate with other institutions in partnerships, such as with B3, which allows it to consult CPF and CNPJ transactions. Even in its pre-operational phase, Vaas was able to contribute to the CPI on financial pyramids, for example. The platform obtained data on the "bitcoin architect" Gustavo Diniz, who disappeared with 70 million reais in scams.

In the blockchain, unlike a current account, it is possible to check what has happened in the wallet, but not necessarily who the owner is. For this reason, the start-up has an integrated analysis model, which checks the information in the register and compares it with transactions in the traditional market.

In this way, for a fixed monthly fee, Vaas monitors every customer the bank wants to track on a full-time basis. "Our biggest differentiator is this on-chain [inside the blockchain] and off-chain [outside] engine. Based on this, I can measure risk in a way that other platforms can't," says Tremel.

In the pilot phase, the startup has already served some banks. However, it will officially launch at a time when financial institutions not originally linked to this market have preferred to stop offering cryptocurrencies, such as Avenue, XP and PicPay.

While Avenue claimed it needed to channel its forces into products that are priorities on its platform, PicPay said the decision was made due to "regulatory uncertainty in the sector". XP, meanwhile, according to Valor, by listing in the US, preferred to align itself with trends in the country, where investment houses have been moving away from cryptocurrency trading in the face of regulatory tightening promoted by the SEC - plus the platform has not gained traction among customers.

In order not to limit itself to the cryptocurrency universe, Vaas's new product strategy includes, in addition to Pix, the project to develop something for the future Drex, a Brazilian digital currency to be launched by the Central Bank.

Las opiniones compartidas y expresadas por los analistas son libres e independientes, y de ellas son responsables sus autores. No reflejan ni comprometen el pensamiento u opinión de Latam Fintech Hub, por lo cual no pueden ser interpretadas como recomendaciones emitidas por la platafomra. Esta plataforma es un espacio abierto para promover la diversidad de puntos de vista sobre el ecosistema Fintech.

About the Fintech

Vaas, a startup that develops technologies against financial fraud, has just raised R$10 million in a pre-seed led by ABSeed. Created in Florianópolis by the same trio that founded Decora, a 3D decoration company, the company focuses on transactions related to the cryptocurrency universe, but is also gearing up to combat Pix-related scams.

The company, which is still in a proof-of-concept phase with large enterprises, does not plan to officially launch its blockchain transaction-tracking platform until next month. The solution will already track transactions through Pix, but the plan is to develop anti-fraud tools for this type of payment, which has been one of the main targets of fraudsters.

In the cryptocurrency world, the startup uses artificial intelligence to check the entire history of an asset portfolio from day one and identify atypical or suspicious transactions. Even if the money comes from previous wallets, it is possible to operate in this way thanks to the blockchain, which functions as an unalterable (in theory) and decentralised notary record.

As the cryptocurrency market has become more popular in recent years, with more traditional banks and financial institutions starting to offer such assets on their investment shelves, Vaas realised there was a place for it as a company that helps these players walk the line, giving more transparency to transactions.

"With the advancement of these technologies, financial institutions and banks will have to follow compliance rules and be in line with central banks, carry out their money laundering prevention, know where the money is coming from," says Gustavo Tremel, CEO of Vaas.

Investments

The business started with an initial investment of about R$5 million from the three founding partners, Tremel, Daniel Smolenaars and Paulo Orione, after Decora was sold for $100 million to CreativeDrive. Not knowing exactly what the solution would be, but betting that it would be the future, the trio created a coworking space in the capital of the state of Santa Catarina, Hub Web 3. There they brought together more than 100 people working on 40 different projects. Vaas was born out of this environment.

Now, for the first time, the startup brings institutional investors to the table. In addition to ABSeed, Fuse Capital and Honey Island by 4UM have joined. With the funds, Vaas will implement its go-to-market strategy and develop new products.

Today, the startup is looking to produce information - using local data and cross-referencing - and cooperate with other institutions in partnerships, such as with B3, which allows it to consult CPF and CNPJ transactions. Even in its pre-operational phase, Vaas was able to contribute to the CPI on financial pyramids, for example. The platform obtained data on the "bitcoin architect" Gustavo Diniz, who disappeared with 70 million reais in scams.

In the blockchain, unlike a current account, it is possible to check what has happened in the wallet, but not necessarily who the owner is. For this reason, the start-up has an integrated analysis model, which checks the information in the register and compares it with transactions in the traditional market.

In this way, for a fixed monthly fee, Vaas monitors every customer the bank wants to track on a full-time basis. "Our biggest differentiator is this on-chain [inside the blockchain] and off-chain [outside] engine. Based on this, I can measure risk in a way that other platforms can't," says Tremel.

In the pilot phase, the startup has already served some banks. However, it will officially launch at a time when financial institutions not originally linked to this market have preferred to stop offering cryptocurrencies, such as Avenue, XP and PicPay.

While Avenue claimed it needed to channel its forces into products that are priorities on its platform, PicPay said the decision was made due to "regulatory uncertainty in the sector". XP, meanwhile, according to Valor, by listing in the US, preferred to align itself with trends in the country, where investment houses have been moving away from cryptocurrency trading in the face of regulatory tightening promoted by the SEC - plus the platform has not gained traction among customers.

In order not to limit itself to the cryptocurrency universe, Vaas's new product strategy includes, in addition to Pix, the project to develop something for the future Drex, a Brazilian digital currency to be launched by the Central Bank.

Las opiniones compartidas y expresadas por los analistas son libres e independientes, y solamente sus autores son responsables de ellas. No reflejan ni comprometen el pensamiento o la opinión del equipo de Latam Fintech Hub y, por lo tanto, no pueden interpretarse como recomendaciones emitidas por la plataforma. Esta plataforma es un espacio abierto para promover la diversidad de puntos de vista en el ecosistema Fintech.

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Segmento:
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País de origen:
Headquarters:
Florianópolis, Santa Catarina
Monto inversión:
2
M
Ronda financiación:
Equity Financing
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