Then & Now – W2 Global Data

This time last year we featured W2 Global Data as part of the 2017 DisruptSW initiative. They shared a little bit about what they do, where they are at, their Product, People and Potential.

One year on, we’ve caught up with CEO Warren Russell to learn about what’s happened since we last chatted and we captured how thinking differently as a business can really set you apart.

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DisruptSW: For those that didn’t get a chance to hear from you at last year’s launch event and for some background information, who are W2 and what makes your business offering unique?

Warren Russell: At W2 we provide our partners with the ability to acquire customers quickly, seamlessly and compliantly. All of our partners are regulated businesses and typically operate in the online world offering payment services or betting and gaming platforms.

Through a single integration to W2 our partners can [currently] access over 70 due diligence services covering the globe. We bring a new service online roughly every 4 weeks and our state of the art data sequencing and decisioning engine also means that our partners only use data and therefore incur costs when and where they need to – saving wasted time, effort and money, and now importantly ensuring that data usage is relevant and in line with GDPR.

Disrupt SW: Can you share the story behind the core and true origin of your business and service?

Warren Russell: W2 was formed in response to the market need for a single service covering all parts of the customer lifecycle. We found that regulated organisations were having to work with multiple service vendors which consumed vast amounts of time, resource, energy and cash. This made their processes slow, clunky and disjointed – they were not able to react to the changing market dynamics in an agile way. In 2011 we set W2 up to disrupt this regulated space and take the fight to the ‘big boy incumbents’.

Our core drive is to simplify the complexity of compliance and make it easier for our partners to acquire their customers.

DisruptSW: Has W2 released any new products or services since we last spoke at the 2017 DisruptSW Index launch event?

Warren Russell: We are constantly delivering new features to our platform, most recently though our new app functionality which gives our partners the ability to validate identity documents from all over the world and perform facial comparison between a live selfie and the image on the driving licence or passport.

Disrupt SW: Have you expanded into any new markets or geographies?

Warren Russell: Our partners are predominantly UK based but have international footprints. We have supported one of our key partners to recently launch in the USA, and other countries our partners have taken us into include South Africa, Slovak Republic, Italy, Scandinavia and Ireland.

With the soon to be enforced 2017 Digital Economy Act we are also now working with a wide range of retailers selling age restricted goods online – this includes e-cigarettes, alcohol, adult content, knives….anything a bricks and mortar shopkeeper would be expected to ‘ID’ you for.

Disrupt SW: Have you had any major team changes?

Warren Russell: In the last 12-18 months we have made three new senior appointments: Sara West joined in April 2017 as Chief Commercial Officer, Gary Pine joined in November as Chief Product Officer and more recently Tom Kahan joined as Chief Financial and Operations Officer in April of this year.

Since this time last year we have also doubled our team size from 20 to over 40, roles across the board including Sales, Product, Development, Testing and Operations.

Disrupt SW: Have you received any funding since 17 November 2017?

Warren Russell: In the early part of 2018 we closed a pre-A investment of £1.25m which was backed by the Development Bank of Wales and Mercia Technology Investors.

Disrupt SW: What market traction have you had over the last year?

Warren Russell: Our YoY growth has continued at over 90% and so far YTD we are tracking for over 100% revenue growth in 18/19.

We now regularly exceed 100m checks per month through our platforms and our customer scope increases across our chosen markets.

Some of the key brands we work with include the likes of goHenry, GVC Holdings, Uaccount and Transact Payments.

Disrupt SW: Are there any other achievements you’d like to share?

Warren Russell: W2 have been shortlisted for two awards at the 2018 Emerging Payments Awards and two more at the 2018 Payments awards.

We have also been working closely with UK government over the past 2 years on the implementation of the Digital Economy Act to safeguard children online.

Disrupt SW: …and what’s in the pipeline for W2? What’s on the horizon?

Warren Russell: We will continue our aggressive growth trajectory and push into new innovative areas such as open banking.

We will continue to add new features to our platform and react accordingly to the changing market dynamics in which we operate.

2018/2019 is going to be an exciting and pivotal year for W2 so watch this space!