Why We Invested in SentiLink
Today Craft Ventures is thrilled to announce we are leading the $70M Series B in SentiLink through our new Growth Fund. Sentilink is an API-based product to help financial institutions avoid making loans to fraudulent applicants.
SentiLink founders Naftali Harris and Max Blumenfeld were risk leaders at Affirm, and leveraged their deep expertise in online lending to build their own standalone product. We love it when founders have an earned secret or insight around a massive problem that outsiders don’t understand, and SentiLink is a perfect example of this principle.
Naftali and Max understand the tactics that fraudsters use to bypass lending guardrails, like “synthetic fraud,” where a stolen social security number is combined with other fake information in the loan application process. They incorporate these patterns and tactics into their technology while also anticipating how these attack vectors might evolve over time. Like most modern, data-focused APIs, SentiLink ingests a massive amount of data to confirm multiple reference points before a loan is made, and synthesizes this data within milliseconds.
SentiLink allows financial institutions to certify loan applicants as legitimate, or conversely, flag as fraudulent. This essentially solves two separate pain points:
- Financial institutions need to delight their customers by making the process for legitimate borrowers as fast, efficient, and seamless as possible. If they don’t, these borrowers will evaluate a competitor.
- However, failing to catch a fraudulent applicant — oftentimes in the name of speed — can cost a financial institution tens of thousands of dollars per bad transaction.
In short, the scope of potential loss is massive and therefore highly motivating for an enterprise decision maker to take action.
SentiLink is among the fastest growing companies that Craft has invested in. Amazingly, this go-to-market success has been achieved purely through founder-led sales. Building a dedicated sales function on top of this type of product-market fit is a massive opportunity for SentiLink, and a strong fit with the kind of expertise and support that Craft Ventures can provide.
SentiLink also fits our investment thesis around Bottom-Up SaaS. It allows users to get started for free by checking up to 10,000 recent loan applications. This free trial proves its efficacy and helps prospective customers estimate the scope of their fraud problem. They also have a clever viral hook in their product: they can often detect fraudulent transactions occurring at third-party financial institutions, creating the next set of sales leads.
Thank you Naftali and Max for welcoming Craft on your journey.
— David Sacks and Mike Marg