Cork-founded tech start-up Trustev sells for $44 million

Fraud-prevention firm acquired by consumer credit-rating company TransUnion

A Cork-based start-up founded less than three years ago has sold for $44 million (€40 million). Fraud-prevention firm Trustev, set up in 2013 by Pat Phelan and Chris Kennedy, who remain the leading shareholders, was acquired by consumer credit-rating company TransUnion. US-based TransUnion will pay $21 million in cash up front and up to $23 million more if Trustev achieves specified targets through 2018.

Trustev is a global provider of digital verification technology. The start-up verifies the identity of online shoppers by generating a digital fingerprint through various social media accounts.

Mr Phelan originally trained as a butcher and as a chef in his home city of Cork. He then founded the company Cubic Telecom, before going on to set up Trustev with “the technical brains”, Mr Kennedy. Mr Phelan said the start-up would continue to be based in Cork, adding that Trustev customers would benefit after the acquisition from the strength and stability of TransUnion.

“We are based in Cork today and we will be based there for the future,” he said. “TransUnion and Trustev have worked together on clever ways to factor in consumer data in our partnership, but it will be much easier as a combined company, as we create a robust network of identity data and build new and innovative ways of spotting fraud directly on top of it.”


TransUnion said it had already integrated Trustev technology and that customers had experienced up to a 60 per cent decrease in fraud losses, while boosting approvals.