Voyance, a data science company based in Lagos has launched a fraud monitoring platform that aggregates data from fin-techs within Africa, starting with Nigeria, to block fraudsters.
Voyance says Sigma is a fraud graph database blocking known fraudsters from illegally accessing their platforms. Members submit known fraudster identifiers like BVN, phone number among others to enable them to lookup and block a fraudster.
According to Abdul Hassan, Co-founder and VP of products at Voyance, think of Sigma as a platform collecting and sharing profiles of bad actors.
“At Voyance, we believe deeply in data. With vast experience in working with data science, we decided to build a data-driven fraud infrastructure product for the good of the ecosystem,” said Hassan.
Hassan adds that since there’s no platform for firms in Africa to monitor and block known fraudsters collectively, a common platform was needed to reduce the incredible amount of chargebacks and monetary losses for fin-tech companies as 80% of fraudulent transactions are performed by same fraudster from one company to another.
To quickly dig into how the firm aims to stop fraudsters, Sigma brings together fintechs who then list a known fraudster to them alone. The fintech joins the alliance and backfills the graph database with a fraudulent user identifier e.g BVN, phone number, IP address etc.
Therefore when the now known fraudster tries their act on another fintech within the alliance, they are easily identified and automatically blocked. Other fintechs also join in and widen the net by adding in new identifiers related to the flagged fraudster.
The total value of e-commerce in Africa reached $16.5 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $29 billion by 2022 dominated by Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya according to a report by Statistica, a research firm.
Though the future looks promising, the reality is that e-commerce in Sub-Saharan Africa is still in its infancy and is faced by a number of obstacles such as low levels of Internet penetration, high cost of broadband for Internet access, lack of a national street address system, distrust on online transaction, low bank card penetration and limited e-commerce payment options.
However, these same factors are the same one’s encouraging the development of innovative solutions to bolster e-commerce in Africa. Voyance, for example built Sigma to help address the issue of online fraud which has been one of the causes of online fraud in Africa.