Rachel Jones didn’t start out thinking that she wanted to tackle online fraud; she began by designing an easy carry, fabric chair for her toddler. Necessity is the mother of invention as they say.
So she put it into production and began to sell it online. She had an original product for sale, but it was easy to make, easy to fake: ‘’Just as we moved production from the UK to China, I had to learn how to combat online fakes quickly to save my brand and my business,’’ she tells Computer Business Review.
Rachel could see her product been ripped off, but ‘’I was unable to convince the recognised online protection agencies to work with my SME.’’
Not a person to be stopped she felt she, ‘’had little option than to do it myself.’’
So she hired native Chinese speakers in Edinburgh and got after the IP team in Alibaba. They began building a relationship and ‘’we tenaciously reported every seller we came across and prevented them from selling fake products.’’
Born out of this experience Rachel Jones started on a new project in 2015, SnapDragon. SnapDragon aims to help SME’s protect their IP’s online.
After three years of working with linguists and IP experts to defend SME’s rights online the company had gathered a wealth of data and know-how and last week, it was time for the company’s next step.
‘’Offering brand protection as a SaaS platform is a natural step for SnapDragon, which was why we have built Swoop,’’ Jones tells us.
Swoop is an automated brand monitoring platform for retailer, manufacturers and designers. Swoop scans websites such as Alibaba, eBay and Amazon for counterfeit items that infringe on your IP. A flag is then raised at which point your brand or a team at Snapdragon step in with design rights, copyright and registered trademark to throw at the fakers and have their product removed.
In the three years building up to Swoop, Jones and her team had to meticulously and manually go through commerce websites looking for copyright infringement on behalf of their clients
Speaking at the launch of Swoop, Jones said: ‘’We are automating that process. By enabling companies, large and small, to find fakes and by empowering them with the knowledge to take action, sales of counterfeit goods can be prevented, brands and the consumer can both be kept safe, businesses remain profitable and fund flow to criminal enterprises cut.’’
Mandy Haeburn-Little, CEO of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre pointing out that the black market has seen: ‘’Considerable entrepreneurship as malicious and reckless companies have seen the opportunity to make a fast buck, regardless of the ruthless damage they cause – whether this be physical, financial or to infrastructure.’’
As we shift more and more into online shopping it will be interesting to see if this Scottish start up can holds its own in tackling online fraud.