The Brazilian startup Vaas, dedicated to developing technologies against financial fraud, raised BRL$10 million in a pre-seed round led by ABSeed

Founded in Florianópolis by the same trio that founded Decora, a 3D decoration startup, the company focuses on transactions related to cryptocurrencies, but it is also preparing to combat Pix-related scams.

The startup, still in a proof of concept phase with significant companies, plans to launch its blockchain transaction tracking platform next month. 

The solution will already track transactions through Pix, but the plan is to develop anti-fraud tools for this type of payment, which has been a primary target of scammers.

In the world of cryptocurrencies, the startup uses artificial intelligence to check the entire history of an asset wallet from day one and identify atypical or suspicious transactions

Even if the money comes from previous wallets, it is possible to operate in this way thanks to blockchain, which functions as an unalterable and decentralized notarial record (in theory). 

As cryptocurrencies have gained ground in recent years, with more traditional banks and financial institutions starting to offer such assets in their investment options, Vaas realized there was a place for them as a company that helps bring more transparency to transactions.

“With the advancement of these technologies, financial institutions and banks will have to follow compliance rules and be in line with central banks, carry out their anti-money laundering, and know where the money comes from,” highlighted Gustavo Tremel, CEO of Vaas.

The business began with an initial investment of BRL$5 million from the three founding partners, Tremel, Daniel Smolenaars, and Paulo Orione, after Decora was sold for USD $ 100 million to CreativeDrive. 

Without knowing precisely what the solution would be but betting on it being the future, the trio created a coworking space in the capital of the state of Santa Catarina, Hub Web 3. 

Here, they brought together more than 100 people working on 40 different projects. This is how Vaas was born in this environment and in this way.

For the first time, the startup has attracted institutional investors. In addition to ABSeedFuse Capital and Honey Island by 4UM have joined. With the funds, Vaas will implement its market launch strategy and develop new products.

The startup aims to produce information (using local data and cross-references) and cooperate with other institutions in partnerships, such as with B3, which allows it to check transactions for CPF and CNPJ. 

Even in its preoperative phase, Vaas could contribute to the IPC on financial pyramids, for example. The platform obtained data on the ‘Bitcoin architect’ Gustavo Diniz, who disappeared with BRL$70 million in scams.

In the blockchain, unlike a current account, it is possible to check what has happened in the wallet, but not necessarily who the owner is. 

For this reason, the startup has an integrated analysis model that checks the registration information and compares it with traditional market transactions.

Thus, for a fixed monthly fee, Vaas monitors all customers that the bank wants to track full-time. 

“Our biggest differentiator is this on-chain and off-chain engine. Based on this, I can measure risk in a way other platforms cannot,” explains Tremel.

In the pilot phase, the startup has already provided services to some banks. Still, it will be officially launched at a time when financial entities not initially linked to this market have preferred to stop offering cryptocurrencies, such as Avenue, XP, and PicPay.

While Avenue claimed it needed to focus its efforts on priority products on its platform, PicPay said the decision was made due to regulatory uncertainty in the sector. 

XP, on the other hand, according to Valor, chose to align with trends in the United States, where investment houses have been moving away from cryptocurrency trading due to regulatory tightening promoted by the SEC (besides the fact that the platform has not been successful among customers).

To avoid limiting itself to the world of cryptocurrencies, Vaas’s new product strategy includes, in addition to Pix, the project of developing something for the future Drex. The Central Bank will launch this Brazilian digital currency.