The immigrant story at the heart of Israel’s fraud-fighting start-up

Besides its advanced technological platform and pioneering business model, the company saw the employment of new immigrants as a key reason for its success.

By
October 10, 2018 19:24
3 minute read.
(L-R) Riskified employees Ephraim Rinsky, Gabi Kobrin, Tyler Golden and Miriam Syber

(L-R) Riskified employees Ephraim Rinsky, Gabi Kobrin, Tyler Golden and Miriam Syber. (photo credit: SARALE GUR LAVY)

 
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You may never have heard of the Tel Aviv-based start-up Riskified but there is a strong likelihood that you will have quietly benefited from its fraud-fighting technology.

Riskified works with approximately 2,000 major e-commerce merchants across the world, analyzing customer behavior for six years already to accurately identify fraudulent online orders.

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Founded by Eido Gal and Assaf Feldman in 2012, Riskified is the pioneer of chargeback-guarantee fraud prevention – a solution in which every transaction approved by Riskified carries a full, money-back guarantee for the merchant in case of a fraud-related charge-back.

By precisely distinguishing legitimate purchases from fraud based on machine-learning from 500,000 daily transactions, Riskified protects merchants and ensures that customers do not see their payments incorrectly rejected at the online checkout.

Riskified’s success is demonstrated by its growth. Today the company has 280 staff and expects to employ 500 by the end of 2019. It has more than quadrupled its annual revenue in each of the last two years.

Besides its advanced technological platform and pioneering business model, the company sees the employment of new immigrants – who understand the culture and nuances of Riskified’s target markets – as a key reason for its success. With that in mind, Riskified has one of the highest immigrant employment percentages in the Tel Aviv start-up scene.

“Many technology companies bring in native language speakers primarily for the language. Here, there’s a lot of thought put into understanding foreign market culture,” Assaf Dargan, director of communications EMEA and APAC at Riskified, told The Jerusalem Post at the company’s open-plan Tel Aviv office.

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Meeting Riskified’s multinational workforce, it’s clear the company focuses more on the individual and his potential rather than a checkbox-based approach based on their résumé.

“As soon as I started the job interview at Riskified, it was less about my past but what I can offer,” said Canadian-born Tyler Golden, one of the company’s business development representatives.

“They looked at the individual, rather than what I have on paper professionally. I didn’t have a strong sales background.”

Similarly, London, UK-born account executive Gabi Kobrin arrived at Riskified with political rather than corporate experience after working at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“Riskified doesn’t look at whether you have specific qualifications to fit a sales role, rather whether your skills, your background and your abilities,” Kobrin said.

“One of the reasons for the company’s success in recruiting immigrants is due to the company’s highly professional environment. I expected it to be an Israeli balagan [mess],” she added jokingly.

“When new immigrants come looking for employment, they’re looking for a balance between work and being comfortable with language and culture,” said Melbourne-born account manager Miriam Syber.

“For me, there is a great balance. Culturally, everyone is accepting and open.”

Ephraim Rinsky taught at a New York university and wrote two detective novels before starting work as a content writer at Riskified.

“Generally, I feel that Israel is more willing to take a chance on a person who doesn’t check all the boxes,” said Rinsky.

“Manhattan can be stressful and intense. Here, we work extremely hard but the company understands that there is a lot to life outside the office.”

Building on its existing success, Riskified is currently looking to expand into more areas in Europe and Asia. As it expands and seeks insight into new markets, the international diversity of its employees is also likely to grow.

When it does, ambitious new immigrants would be well-advised to look for opportunities to join the company’s expanding ranks.

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