Legentic has two products to offer our customers in their quest to fight financial crime - Mohawk and Sjerlok. While Mohawk is solely a platform, Sjerlok is a platform AND a service. To get a better understanding on how it works - and even more specifically, the thoughts behind it, we had a chat with the “inventor” Ron Vermeulen, and tech lead Andrei Candale.
So Ron, why did you create Sjerlok? Where did the idea come from?
– At the time, in 2012, I was self-employed, running my own Digital Investigation company searching online for stolen objects. And I experienced two major problems that I wanted to solve:
It was difficult to collect profile of the stolen object from my clients - often insurance and finance companies
The searches were extremely time consuming - running scripts, searching google. And on every job, I had to start all over again.
There had to be a way to do this better, faster, easier – with an automated investigation platform! A solution like that would substantially contribute to claim reduction in the finance industry. So I decided to pursue and research my start-up idea. “Armed” with a simple sketch on a piece of paper, I got an insurance company in the Netherlands to embrace the project. Eventually we started to develop the platform with a technology partner.
Andrei, this is where you came in, I presume?
– Correct! I was working in a company called Spyhce at the time, and was excited when Ron approached us. We started out with a small application, then developed new features as more clients and cases came along, and scaled the platform to onboard even more clients. I have really grown with Sjerlok and learned a lot on the way.
What has been the biggest challenge on your journey?
– The most challenging part has been to create a team of passionate, talented people that really care about the product and service that we offer our clients. New technology is always exciting for engineers, but we try to avoid hype and rather lean on “tried and tested” solutions. Our aim is to solve real world problems, with solutions that work, says Andrei. – The most important step is to get a deep understanding on how experts go about when manually searching for stolen objects – mimic them and scale it to a level that is not possible for humans, through the use of technology.
And how does Sjerlok actually work?
– Our clients import basic features into the Sjerlok platform, to create a full profile. A vehicle needs about 80 features to be truly unique, while a violin that there are only 3 in the world, only needs 10 features, just to give you an idea. Once the profile is created the platform runs searches through marketplaces, forums and social media – continually and in 18 languages simultaneously.
The platform delivers actionable information in combination with the analysis of our experts in the Search & Match team, says Ron engaged. – Our challenge is to transform the actionable information into results, with our service community partners taking care of the confiscation and recovery of the stolen asset for the customer.
Moving forward, what are you working on?
– We are constantly developing new features, improving the technology and adding new sources of data. Right now we are working on a bigger network, with IoT, natural languages and image recognition. We are also studying criminal behaviour and criminal paths, looking into a large amount of data to identify the patterns.
– If not one step ahead of the criminals, we’re at least right on their tail, concludes Ron.