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What we learned from our first networking event

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On April 20, we held our first networking event right here at our headquarters in San Jose. We had prepared a brief tech talk and a short walk through of Signifyd’s evolution to allow attendees to understand where we came from and where we’re going. There was plenty of food, drinks and questions, but most of all there was an ongoing discussion about the future – of machine learning and ecommerce. Everyone appeared both curious and excited about what we’ll see by 2020 for online shopping, payments, cybersecurity, autonomous fulfillment and where all the major shifts will come from.

Diversity is Key

We met professionals in all stages of their career and with very varied backgrounds. We were hoping for a diverse crowd and San Jose delivered. Along with a number of talented risk and fraud analysts we had intriguing conversations with machine learning data engineers from a number of different fields. Everyone was generous with their feedback and, as you might expect, they had a lot of questions about Guaranteed Fraud Protection and how we’re using machine learning and domain expertise to eliminate fraud losses for thousands of ecommerce merchants. Attendees with Silicon Valley experience recognized the signs of a rapidly growing tech company and were interested in how we partner broadly with major players across the payments and ecommerce ecosystem.

We’re Still Pretty Unique

While we’re proud of our machine learning capabilities and our constantly evolving model, we tend to forget how unique the combination of a real-time machine learning engine with a financial guarantee actually is. Numerous attendees wanted to confirm that we do, in fact, guarantee protection for such a large number of transactions and this led to deep conversations about how our guarantee allows us to obtain optimal data for the model’s negative data set (i.e. chargebacks) since we’re paying merchants for any orders we approve that turn out to be fraudulent. Since this differs greatly from a recommendation engine for display ads or predictive analytics for online sales we got a reminder of how unique our work really is, even in Silicon Valley.

Machine Learning Has a Strong Base in San Jose

We hosted the event with the hope that we might be able to find some candidates for the many open positions we have here at Signifyd. Since our headcount doubled in 2015 and again in 2016 we’re looking for experts in various disciplines to help us through our next phase of growth. Attendees from this event reassured us of our decision to build Signifyd in San Jose. The pool of talent and the maturity that many of these professionals have with both online payments and machine learning gives us confident that we can continue to hire leaders right here in the Bay Area. Numerous attendees came from companies that are pioneering machine learning and artificial intelligence methodologies in different fields and having this network of companies growing with a common trajectory around us is key to fueling constant innovation and pacing ourselves with the market’s broader capabilities.

Encouraged by our first event, we began a series of meetups for payment fraud experts, starting with a session on June 8. Each session will have a key topic and an expert will be featured to share their insights and experience. We will also source topics for future sessions from attendees as the community of payment fraud professionals in the Bay Area is strong and we’d like to join the conversation rather than dictate it. We’ll also keep our doors open to future networking events with food, drinks and plenty of intriguing conversations.

Sourabh Kothari

Sourabh Kothari

Sourabh is the former Director of Merchant Advocacy at Signifyd, where he brought over 18 years of experience defining, designing and delivering content through stories, events and video.