Luminus Award - Verafin Founders
Raymond Pretty, B.Eng.’01, Jamie King, Dip.Tech.(MI)’94, B.Eng.’99, Brendan Brothers, B.Eng.’02
In 2003, Verafin joined Genesis, Memorial University’s business incubator. Three engineers started the company while working on graduate studies in artificial intelligence and decision-making systems.
Little did those engineers know that they were on the cusp of developing the world’s leading Financial Crime Management platform.
Jamie King (co-founder, president and CEO), Brendan Brothers (co-founder and product specialist) and Raymond Pretty (co-founder and chief technology officer) applied the technology they used for the mining industry and used their research abilities to examine the world of financial crime. Their first customer, the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union, provided valuable insight into fraud and money laundering challenges in the financial services sector. The ability for financial institutions to see criminal activity and they role they can play in stopping human trafficking became apparent.
With this knowledge in hand, the founders and their fast-growing team turned from a technology-focused company to a purpose-driven company, setting out to build a team of crime fighters who all had one common goal: to build the world’s most effective crime fighting network.
Since its inception, Verafin has made great strides. In 2019, the company raised the largest venture capital deal ever in Canadian history. The mammoth $515M investment turned heads. Verafin was quietly growing, with more than 3,000 bank and credit union customers across North America.
Verafin’s internal charity, VeraCares, provides fundraising and volunteer support for local organizations like Choices for Youth, Thrive, The Blue Door program, SeniorsNL, Janeway, The School Lunch Association and many more. They have supported over 70 charities, raised more than $421,272 in donations and volunteered 572 hours (as of 2020). Staying true to its purpose-driven mission, VeraCares has also helped people who were victimized by financial crimes like human trafficking.
Memorial has benefitted greatly from Verafin’s deep commitment and philanthropy for many years. They have not forgotten their roots, and have continued to support the startup community by helping the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship, Genesis and various programs, scholarships and awards, as well as infrastructure. All of this has had an immense impact on the institution, companies, students and research, all fortifying the future.
On Nov. 19, 2020, Nasdaq announced its intent to acquire Verafin for $2.75B USD. The agreement marries Verafin’s comprehensive suite of anti-fraud management products with Nasdaq’s established technology leadership and reach, to create a powerhouse global leader in the fight against financial crime. Verafin will remain firm in Newfoundland and Labrador, and firm in its roots as a business born from Genesis. The acquisition agreement commits Nasdaq to work closely with Memorial to grow the university’s scholarship program, enhance its co-operative education programs and fund and supervise at least six Mitacs fellowships annually for master’s and PhD students. Nasdaq has also committed to investing $1 million USD in a research and development partnership with Genesis.
Memorial University is proud not only of the contribution Verafin and its founders have made in the fight against cybercrime, but also of their steadfast reputation as innovators, educators and lifelong learners who are continuously giving back to the tech pioneers of the future.