The New Zealand anti-money laundering startup First AML is expanding in Australia. First AML has 65 employees at its headquarters in Auckland, and will be hiring 10 more locally once Co-Founder Bion Behdin migrates to the company’s new branch office in Sydney.
The company is making the move ahead of a new round of AML legislation. The current Australian regulations only apply to about 15,000 reporting entities, which is to say that only 15,000 entities need to have compliant AML procedures. The new law will extend those requirements to lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents, raising the total number of regulated entities to more than 100,000 under the amended guidelines.
First AML is hoping to capture a portion of that expanded market once the new laws are put into place. The company has already gained traction with Australian venture capital firms, and is best known for an automated Customer Due Diligence platform that uses biometrics to verify the identities of new users remotely.
“We’re excited to offer regulation technology built for investment firms and lenders to help them manage compliance faster and more accurately,” said Behdin. “Regtech is usually aimed at the Big Four banks, but if we want our economy to grow, we have to help the next layer of financiers become more efficient.”
First AML was founded in 2017, and has since brought in $7.3 million AUD (or $5.4 million USD) in Series A funding. That round was completed in September and was led by Bedrock Capital, with additional backing from Icehouse Ventures and Pushpay founder Chris Heaslip. The former is based in the US, while the latter two were both prior First AML investors.
For his part, Behdin noted that the global AML market could be worth as much as $184 billion, with Australia and the US driving much of that demand. The US has also implemented stricter AML regulations in the past few months.