Neotas selected for inaugural Ashurst FinTech Legal Labs

Ashurst has announced the first cohort of businesses for FinTech Legal Labs, a three-day accelerator programme designed to provide FinTech businesses with legal support and access to investors and leading financial institutions.

Neotas are among the 36 business selected by the FinTech Legal Labs Team from over 100 applicants.

As evidenced by the large number of companies involved, the Labs programme is not like law firm fintech accelerators such as Slaughter and May’s Fast Forward or AG Elevate from Addleshaw Goddard, which take place over a period of months. However, speaking to Legal IT Insider, partner Abradat Kamalpour, who leads FinTech Legal Labs, said:

“When I designed the programme I listened to what the fintechs said and for them to commit to a three-to-six month programme is quite heavy. We designed the three-day programme because we felt we could cover all the areas of law in day one and two and give them access to clients and investors.”

He added:

“We have a lot of post Lab activities planned including breakfasts and events and I’m sure we’ll get requests from clients to meet these companies. We’re thinking about how that will be structured on an ongoing basis.”

Whereas these types of programmes are a good way for law firms to make contact with young companies that they hope will grow to become profitable, it is also a way to help existing larger clients. Kamalpour told us: “We’re also focussed on our institutional clients and helping them to access these companies.”

This latest programme will be run over three days from 20-22 November, and is designed to:

  • Cover key areas of law relevant to the accepted FinTech companies and give them access to the firm’s clients and contacts from financial institutions and investors; and
  • Provide leading financial institutions and investors access to cutting edge FinTech companies that have been accepted in the programme.

Kamalpour said in a statement:

“We had an overwhelming response to the launch of the inaugural programme from a wide variety of great FinTech businesses operating in the sector. We are really delighted with the businesses that we are talking into the first cohort and the programme is set to be a fantastic platform to bring together know how, collaboration and create partnerships from across the FinTech and institutional sectors.”

Planet Compliance shine the business spotlight on Neotas

From our vision to traction, Planet Compliance shine the spotlight on Neotas. 

  1. What can you tell us about your company and your products & services?

Neotas is an online due diligence company. We provide deep insight on risk by interrogating social media, the deep and the dark web. We help our clients reduce fraud, avoid bad hires and comply with the latest regulatory guidelines. Our services are scalable, cost-effective and apply a unique blend of AI technology and human analytics for smarter risk management.

  1. How did you come up with the idea and what drives you?

Our CEO & Co-founder Vipul Mishra is an ex-Head of Information Security at a leading hedge fund. Having dealt with a number of fraud cases in his day-to-day role, it soon became apparent that more proactive measures were needed to really tackle fraud and financial crime. The idea for Neotas was borne out of a passion for technology and fueled by deep industry expertise in financial services and fraud prevention.

  1. What is it that makes your company different from others?

Our unique blend of machine learning, natural language processing and image analytics enables new insight into global risk. When coupled with multi-lingual analytical capabilities and deep industry expertise, our solutions become cost-effective and highly scalable. We complement and augment existing due diligence processes. Our approach to risk management is different. We take a proactive approach by looking at unstructured and otherwise underutilized data that sits across the largest dataset of them all – the Internet.

  1. Where are you based?

We are headquartered in London. Our clients are global and we offer multi-lingual capabilities.

  1. When was the company launched?

Neotas was founded in February 2017.

  1. What traction have you made? Can you tell us about your biggest achievements so far?

We have over 70 clients across the financial services space, including wealth managers, private equity firms, banks and insurance companies.

At the beginning of 2019, Neotas was selected as a top 20 start-up to join the FinTech Innovation Lab 2019, run by Accenture. The intensive accelerator programme, supported by 35 financial services companies, enabled Neotas to connect with the industry’s most senior banking and insurance executives, driving both scalability and innovation.

More recently, Neotas was awarded a grant from Innovate UK to back a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the internationally renowned AI Department at the University of Essex.

  1. What advice could you give to other entrepreneurs and start-ups?

Be procurement ready, especially for incumbent banks as the sales cycle can be much longer. The best bit of advice Neotas Co-founder Ian Howard was given as an entrepreneur has been “Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.”

  1. What can you tell us about your team?

Our team brings together cyber intelligence, financial services, risk management and legal backgrounds. This blend of skills and expertise provides a fresh insight and invaluable perspectives on the due diligence landscape; that blended with our technology is what keeps us ahead of the curve.

  1. What’s next for your company?

As part of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, we will be refining our contextual analysis and further integrating AI into the process. The incorporation of AI will enable our intelligence platform to take account of the context in which words or images are used – for example, to be able to tell the difference between an individual on a clay pigeon shoot, or a terrorist armed with a gun.

  1. How do potential customers and investors get in touch with you?

Get in touch with us directly at or visit for more information. Our solutions are scalable, fast and cost-effective.

This article was originally published here.  

Click here to find our more about how enhanced due diligence can keep you compliant.

Assurance for the Insurance Sector: SMCR and beyond

Today the Bank of England tells insurance companies to improve their working cultures after revelations about sexual harassment and bullying in the industry.

The Prudential Regulation Authority has flagged recent instances of alleged abuse as of “deep concern” and said bad behaviour could result in senior managers being banned from the sector.

The Senior Managers & Certification regime (SMCR) was rolled out to insurance firms late last year and will hold senior managers to account.

Patrick Butler, co-founder of the Culture and Conduct Academy at UK Finance:

“As regulators become more expert as to how senior managers can and should drive better conduct, they will become less tolerant of senior managers’ inability, or unwillingness to find ways to measure and manage culture effectively.”

Tools specifically designed with conduct risk and behaviour in mind offer a rigorous and systematic approach to gain insight on clients and staff. This will give firms the ability to link behaviour to value and give accountable managers tangible ways to move the dial on conduct and culture.

The spotlight isn’t just on insurance companies, but the message is clear: there is more work to do to stamp out bad behaviour, evidence compliance with SMCR and give leaders confidence.

SMCR is not just limited to the insurance and banking sector. With the 9th December deadline fast approaching for insurance brokers, wealth and asset managers, there are opportunities to build trust, inspire staff to control risk and create sustainable business value.

Neotas help leaders across the financial service industry to pinpoint people risk and build positive cultures. Find out more at

CVs don’t provide the full picture: lessons learned

As a recruiter, how often do you question a candidate’s accolades and accomplishments? In the case of Ms. Antoniadou, it seems this all happened too late. The story hit the press earlier this year and the case raised a few important points for hiring managers and recruiters when screening candidates.

Exaggerating credentials and overinflating accolades is something that is becoming more widespread in a competitive job market. So what’s the difference between over-exaggeration and fraud? What can be done in a world where 90% of HR Directors have found exaggerations on a CV or job application?

According to the story published in UAE, “In the days before widespread internet use, social media and the ability to vet someone’s profile online, it was easier to inflate past accolades to climb the greasy pole”

Do your online due diligence

The cost of a bad apple can be substantial. According to Bradford D. Smart in “Topgrading”, the cost of a bad hire can be anything up to 23 times their starting salary. If a candidate is willing to lie about their past achievements and education on a CV, how much are you willing to pay for the wrong candidate?

The recruitment landscape is shifting and in an increasingly digital world, there is a vast amount of information that can be gleaned online to help build a fuller picture of a candidate. It can also help flag reputational risks sooner.

Do it right and don’t discriminate

It’s important to vet and screen candidates with rigour, but it’s equally important not to involve any discriminatory bias in the process. Our online reputation screening is designed to enable recruiters to screen candidates safe in the knowledge that protected characteristics remain protected.

In the case of Ms. Antoniadou, online reputation screening could have raised flags sooner. A simple search online would have shown contradictory statements and news outlets raising a discrepancy. The company that Ms. Antoniadou claims to run successfully does not have an active Internet domain – another flag that would have been raised through online checks.

Online reputation screening is not there to catch people out. It can provide context and a more complete picture of the candidate.  For example, we found charitable work spanning the year that was missing off an IT candidate’s CV. What we uncovered helped to build a picture of the candidate and provided better insight into the candidate for the role in question.

The story of Ms. Antoniadou serves as a reminder and the benefits of online reputation screening have never been clearer.


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