Case study

Sphonic

A ground breaking Fintech data network in customer acceptance and risk management, tsf.tech built their innovative authentication platform.

Sphonic is an innovative Risk Management business, built for the fast-moving digital commerce world. Through their Workflow Manager solution (WFM) they are able to leverage data from a myriad of third party vendor services as well as applying their own unique significance filtering, enabling for the creation of an authenticated digital pictures.

WFM can apply in relation to the identification and profiling of Individuals, businesses and transactions in order to reduce friction, improve conversion, aid on-boarding and account acquisition, besides reducing fraud and risk, and streamline KYC, KYB and AML processes.

tsf.tech worked with Sphonic.com to support the technical development of WFM to aggregate data across customer-merchant-vendor transactions, so that merchants can accept genuine customers, terminate fraudulent events and avoid risk in ‘customer not present’ transactions.

The Sphonic project is relatively simple in its essence, but was challenging to implement. The challenges included handling of a very large volume of data very quickly, mapping between very different data formats and keeping canonical form internally for future analysis. Furthermore, because WFM processes financial and personal information, we needed to ensure that we either did not hold such information at all; or, if we needed to hold it, to ensure that it would be impossible to gain unauthorised access to it.

The project comprised of three key areas

The Sphonic project is relatively simple in its essence, but was challenging to implement. The challenges included handling of a very large volume of data very quickly, mapping between very different data formats and keeping canonical form internally for future analysis.

  • We evaluated the technical problem, impartially determined the best technical stack and architecture using the latest cutting edge technologies and techniques, and offered an early indication of resource requirements.
  • tsf.tech’s development team built a PoC model, which confirmed the technical solution and provided a very basic application to begin the customer feedback process.
  • This stage saw the completion of the application to v1.0 and subsequent on-going development with frequent releases.

In essence, we’ve built a message broker that connects merchants and vendors; keeping the parties completely isolated.

Sphonic’s WFM solution runs on the Java platform and its main implementation language is Scala. It is an object-functional, statically-typed language. Functional programming allows the right level of abstraction for system operations and it allows us to easily compose the small operations into larger ones. Furthermore, because Scala is statically typed, we can encode a lot of information in the types in our code.

Ultimately, we are able to offload work that would normally be up to the programmers on the compiler. The end result is that we have fewer lines of code and that the code we have expresses the essence of the problem more clearly than imperative and less strongly typed languages.

Turning away from the language, the Sphonic application uses established Scala and Java libraries, the most notable being Akka, Scala, and Spring Portfolio. Alongside the code that runs in the Java virtual machine, Sphonic needs different storage and messaging infrastructure, including Redis, MongoDB, Amazon logs and Rabbit MQ.

We are now fours years into our relationship with Sphonic. tsf.tech is the third largest investor in the business, and provides two non-executive directors to the board, including Chairman.

"Definitely no understatement to say that having tsf.tech on board as our development partners has been a decision we at sphonic.com continue to pat ourselves on the backs over daily. From helping us shape and refine our concept to delivering a game-changing product, it's been a 'partnership' in the true sense of the word. If, like me, you've been around the block a few times and think you've seen it all, it's well worth having a rethink!"

Terry Chow — Sphonic.com