Tamas Kadar is the Co-Founder and CEO of SEON, a Hungarian fintech that provides online fraud prevention services. The company has raised more than US$107.8m in funding from investors including Creandum, IVP, and PortfoLion Capital Partners since being founded in 2017.
Financial technology’s increasing availability has led to more fraud and financial crimes. To combat this, SEON has taken it upon itself to protect businesses. The company uses modular APIs to protect against fraudsters and offers various features, including risk scores, behaviour analytics, and more.
In this interview, Tamas Kadar discusses SEON’s journey so far, the company’s plans for the future, and the importance of fintech in combating fraud.
Here’s what he had to say:
Tamas Kadar (Full Q&A Interview)
Q: What made you want to get involved in the tech sector?
A: It’s been an area of interest ever since I was young. Growing up, I was always a very technical kid and loved computers. I quickly realised that my skills would be well-suited to the world of tech. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to study ‘Deep Info Comms’ at university following school. As I truly enjoyed learning more about high-tech and innovations, from that point forward I knew the tech sector was right for me.
Q: Where do you see most significant opportunities for fraud prevention moving forward?
A: I’m excited about the possibilities of moving beyond traditional PII verification, which will allow us to better understand an individual’s digital footprint. With that shift, we’ll be able to drill down further on behaviours across all digital channels and gain insights on the type of devices that people are using. I still think social media footprints are underused in the battle to fight fraud, so there’s opportunities to improve there too. At SEON, we are continuously aiming to improve fraud prevention, and we are building a great team with exceptional talent to help us achieve this.
Q: What inspired you to start SEON?
A: It was at university when I first met my co-founder, Bence Jendruszak. Together, we shared several interests, including a fascination with cryptocurrencies, which were beginning to become very popular at the time. We wanted to get in on the action and decided to launch our own cryptocurrency exchange from our dorm room. Initially, the exchange was successfully launched but after a while we began to struggle to deal with fraudsters and hackers.
I knew we needed a system that could help to identify these unsavoury actors before they caused any more damage to our platform. So, I took it upon myself to begin building the tool that would eventually become SEON. It wasn’t easy, and I had to build the system entirely from scratch, but straight away we could see how effective it was at limiting rates of fraud across our site. It wasn’t long before similar exchanges asked if they could use it too. We decided to pivot into building the to-go solution for online businesses affected by fraud.
Q: Why is it more important than ever to focus on fraud prevention?
A: There’s research to suggest that fraud is on the rise across all aspects of society, which is deeply concerning. When people fall victim to fraud, they lose out on a lot more than just money. Unfortunately, these are often life-changing events and may leave a person facing deep psychological trauma for the rest of their lives. As a society, it’s incumbent upon us to help protect people from this fate. As online fraud continues to grow, businesses in all sectors need solutions to fight back.
Q: If there was one piece of wisdom you could give to other people in the financial industry, so they could have an edge – what would it be?
A: I’d advise people to never become distracted by external forces. I think many people, especially those with startups, feel an obligation to replicate the working practices of other successful businesses, or to follow advice from those with more experience than them. While I agree it’s always important to listen to recommendations, it’s more important to make your own decisions and to ensure you’re forging your own path for your business.
Q: What excites you the most in fintech right now? And how do you anticipate things will play out by 2030?
A: The fintech revolution has in effect eliminated the division between the ‘online’ and ‘offline’ world. We’ll see how this plays out once the metaverse is in full swing and when augmented reality technologies are more accessible to all. I’m also excited about the rise of the fintech sector, which looks set for major growth in the next few years. In fact, I think we’ll start to see great innovation being implemented in a short space of time, taking inspiration from each geography globally.
Q: Please summarise your life in three words?
A: Relentless problem-solving!
Q: What is next for SEON in the coming five years?
A: Five years is like an eternity in the world of online fraud prevention, where new threats seem to appear on an almost weekly basis. Regardless of what happens during that period, we’ll be there to help our users, as part of our ongoing mission to democratise the battle against online fraud. So, while I can’t say exactly what the challenge will look like in five years, I’m beyond confident that the solution will still be SEON.
From a more operational point of view, we plan to continue scaling global operations in the next few years. Right now, that’s our big focus as a company. Ultimately, we want to bring our solution into new markets and offer it to companies who may have previously lacked access to affordable online fraud prevention solutions. I hope in five years’ time we’re further along in that process and have made good on our intentions.
Q: Lastly, what is the one thing you want everyone to know about Tamas Kadar?
A: That I’m not special, or unique! I think sometimes when you have success, people assume you have some form of superpower, but that’s simply not the case. You don’t need to be special to be a company founder – anyone can do it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you approach work and how you manage tasks. If you’re able to find a system that works for you, along with a supportive team, then you’re able to achieve great things.