In the realm of financial crime prevention, banks often teeter on the precipice of chaos. One wrong decision can lead to colossal fines and a tarnished reputation. Martin Markiewicz, the CEO of Silent Eight, has a profound understanding of this precarious situation. His company harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to assist financial institutions in combatting financial crimes like money laundering and terrorist financing. By doing so, Silent Eight aims to streamline the resource-intensive process of crime prevention, ensuring that banks remain in regulators’ good graces.
Markiewicz envisions a world where AI takes the lead in financial crime prevention, sparing human investigators from the colossal task at hand. He emphasizes the limitless potential of AI, stating, “AI should be doing this job, not necessarily humans.” Silent Eight strives to empower financial institutions with AI’s capacity to conduct millions of investigations efficiently, without the limitations of human capabilities.
Silent Eight is experiencing substantial growth, with its revenue expected to triple this year, marking its first foray into profitability. With these achievements under its belt, Markiewicz is actively positioning his company for a future initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.
The AI Behind Silent Eight’s Success
Silent Eight’s innovative software relies on generative AI, a technology similar to the one that powers the popular ChatGPT chatbot. However, the training process differs significantly. While ChatGPT learns from a vast dataset, Silent Eight’s model is trained on numerous smaller models tailored to specific tasks. For instance, one AI model specializes in translating names across different languages, helping detect individuals using various name spellings worldwide.
These individual models collaborate to create Silent Eight’s software, which is now deployed by some of the world’s largest banks, including Standard Chartered and HSBC, to combat financial crime.
Markiewicz emphasizes that Silent Eight’s AI models were initially trained based on processes performed by human investigators within financial institutions. The company’s journey began in 2017 when Standard Chartered became the first bank to adopt Silent Eight’s software. However, this required cooperation from the bank to provide access to its risk management data, rendering Silent Eight’s strategy somewhat risky. Yet, this strategic move proved instrumental in attracting other financial institutions.
As Silent Eight expanded its client base, its AI capabilities evolved, delivering significant cost advantages over hiring human investigators for the same tasks, as Markiewicz pointed out.
Preparing for an IPO
Silent Eight has come a long way since its inception. Markiewicz anticipates revenue to surge by more than three-and-a-half times in 2023, although specific figures remain undisclosed. The company is on track to achieve profitability this year as it continues to onboard financial institutions.
HSBC, Standard Chartered, and First Abu Dhabi Bank are among Silent Eight’s esteemed clients. Despite a successful $40 million funding round led by TYH Ventures and featuring HSBC Ventures, along with existing investors like OTB Ventures and Standard Chartered’s investment arm, Markiewicz stated that Silent Eight does not currently plan to raise additional funds.
However, the company is actively preparing for a potential IPO by the end of 2025, with the goal of listing on the Nasdaq in the United States. This preparation involves adopting practices akin to publicly traded companies, ensuring they are well-prepared for this significant milestone.
Markiewicz clarified, “It’s an option that I want to have, not that there’s some obligation or some investor agreement that I have.” Silent Eight’s journey to revolutionize financial crime prevention continues, fuelled by AI innovation and a strategic eye on the future.