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PayPal picks up AI-based anti-fraud specialists Simility

Tim Maytom

Payments operator PayPal has acquired Simility, a fraud prevention specialist that uses AI to protect online transactions, for $120m (£90m). PayPal was already an investor in the firm, owning three per cent of the startup, which was last valued at $52.75m according to PitchBook.

"Digital commerce has exploded, and fraudsters have taken note, adapting and developing new methods to carry out their crimes," said Bill Ready, chief operating officer at PayPal. "PayPal has been at the forefront of developing innovative fraud prevention and risk management solutions for nearly 20 years, but until now, merchants haven't been able to configure those solutions to manage the unique complexities of their businesses."

Simility's technology uses a set of APIs and beacons to monitor digital transactions and buying activity in-app, on the web and in-store. By augmenting this data with machine learnign and feeds from other sources, it creates what the firm calls "adaptive" risk management, providing a protection strategy that can change from moment to moment based on evolving threats.

"Our vision for Simility was to create an adaptive risk management platform that empowers organisations operating in the digital world to manage an evolving fraud and risk landscape where data breaches are the new normal," said Rahul Pangam, co-founder and CEO of Simility. "We are excited to enter the next phase of our growth with PayPal and are thrilled to join them to help drive the next generation of payment and commerce solutions while scaling our business together."

The acquisition is the latest in a series of purchases for PayPal, which also recently acquired mobile POS firm iZettle for $2.2bn, and has strengthened its partnership with Google Pay.