Unlike systems that rely on rules and scores, Forter’s consumer-focused fraud decision solution provides real-time, fully automated approve or decline decisions for every transaction. This eliminates the need for manual reviews and accelerates checkout making it smoother for customers, who are unaware that they have been analyzed. The company stands behind its decisions with a 100% chargeback guarantee and aims to approve as many customers as possible, even if they are from countries usually associated with a higher risk of credit card fraud or fraud more generally. Retailers pay for only approved transactions. The company says that its clients usually see a 8-15% lift in sales once they have started to work with Forter.
Forter is one of the most prominent of the young companies disrupting the online fraud prevention space. Both the business model and the technology are distinct from the traditional players in the field. Some industry commentators have noted that the industry was ripe for disruption since, as Forrester Research commented in an April 2015 report "Stop Billions in Fraud Losses with Machine Learning", "Legacy fraud management mechanisms fail in today's economy." Old systems based on rules, scores and manual reviews have serious downsides for both retailers and customers, and new technology means that these mechanisms can be replaced by more automated solutions which remove the delays and frustrations associated with fraud prevention in the past, and enable retailers to provide the kind of real-time purchase experience their customers have come to expect. Forter is notable as an example in this group of disruptive companies as it is the one furthest removed from the traditional model, offering not only partial automation but full automation and an end to manual reviews of transactions, meaning entirely real-time fraud decisions.
The company's success so far in terms of funding and industry recognition reflects a number of developing trends - the growth of e-commerce, the drive to use machine learning to solve problems for which big data is available, and online retailers' growing concern about the impact fraud prevention has on their customers. As Gartner pointed out in the April 2016 report, How Card Acceptors Can Protect Against the New Wave of Card Fraud, "Web commerce has shifted the role of fraud detection from the arcane back office loss prevention department to being front and center in the customer experience." This is something that both retailers and customers are beginning to realize and sophisticated fraud prevention solutions are receiving increased attention as a result.
Additionally, with the increase of online fraud attacks internationally and in the U.S. particularly following the adoption of EMV cards (microchip cards) the importance of the chargeback guarantee offered by so far only a few of these new fraud prevention companies has grown as retailers seek to protect themselves against the risk associated with increased fraud.
Forter was officially established in 2013 and launched product in February 2014 after eight months in stealth mode. The company was founded by Liron Damri (COO), Alon Shemesh (Chief Analyst) and Michael Reitblat (CEO), who met while working in military intelligence, and reunited at Fraud Sciences, the fraud prevention software firm which was later acquired by PayPal and which is discussed in Start-Up Nation. All three founders became senior members of the PayPal organization following acquisition, and were instrumental in integrating Fraud Sciences’ system into PayPal’s structure. In founding Forter, they aimed to take the lessons learned throughout their careers and leverage them to create fraud prevention as they felt it should be for the modern world and modern commerce. Forter began by helping retailers fight fraud for e-commerce and mobile transactions, combating the fraudsters of today's world who benefit from the abundant resources of the underground cybercrime ecosystem. In April 2015, Forter began offering phone fraud prevention in addition to the e-commerce and mobile commerce products, so that the company became able to provide full coverage for all aspects of CNP commerce. Forter raised $18 million in funding since its inception from its partners Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates. Although emerging, Forter has already received considerable attention both for its funding success (Sequoia / NEA) and for its research projects, from outlets such as Forbes, VentureBeat, CNBC, Money Magazine and USA Today.
On April 21, 2016, it was announced that Forter closed a $32 million Round C funding, led by Scale Venture Partners, with follow-on funding from Sequoia and NEA.
The proprietary system which is the core of Forter’s decision solution uses cyber intelligence, behavioral analysis and elastic identity to distinguish genuine transactions from fraudulent ones. The company explains that this combination allows them to detect the majority of fraudulent transactions before they have even reached the checkout page.
Forter relies on machine learning, meaning that the system learns from each transaction, whether genuine or fraudulent, picking out relevant patterns and trends. However, the company is quick to point out that the problem of fraud is not exclusively a technological one and that the expert input of its analysts is crucial in constantly refining the system.
The essence of the company’s product is decisioning transactions, which means that the company undertakes to provide a real-time approve/decline decision for every transaction on a merchant’s website or via the phone. This is in contrast to traditional rule engine systems which offer a score risk probability but leave the retailer to decide whether to approve or not, and which do not offer a guarantee for the correctness of the score. In this way, Forter aims to lift the burden of fraud from retailers.
The phone fraud prevention solution uses the same technology as the rest of Forter’s system to make analyzing transactions for phone fraud easy for both the customer representative and the customer. No confirmatory emails or SMSes are involved, making the process what Forter calls ‘frictionless.’
Forter was named a Gartner Cool Vendor 2016 in the report Cool Vendors in UEBA, Fraud Detection and User Authentication, 2016. In June 2015 at the 13th Annual American Business Awards, the United States' premier business awards program, Forter was awarded with a Silver Stevie®. Forter has also received two Bronze Stevies - one American Business Award and one International Business Award. Forter has won a number of other awards as well, including three Innovator Awards for Innovation, Invisibility and Newcomer status respectively, and a Florin Award for Best Fraud Prevention.