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Global Fintech Interview with Kapil Kale, Co-founder and COO of Tremendous

Global Fintech Interview with Kapil Kale, Co-founder and COO of Tremendous

Kapil Kale, Co-founder and COO of Tremendous comments on the sophistication of modern digital frauds and how they impact the brand and user experience:


Hi Kapil, tell us about yourself and more about Tremendous: what inspired the platform?

My co-founder and I previously ran a consumer gifting website. We noticed that some businesses were using that service to pay out incentives, for research and health and wellness use cases.

We discovered that there were many more businesses that needed an incentives and payouts provider, and so we built Tremendous to help them out.

What are some of the latest trends in rewards and incentives that are dominating the market?

The first is that the spend is coming online. Market research, for example, used to rely on in-person focus groups. And compensation was physical, in the form of a paper checks or a plastic gift card. Now, most research is happening online, with participants nobody has met in person. That requires a different payment infrastructure.

The second is globalization. People are doing business all over the world now- 21% of reward volume is international, as opposed to just 8% four years ago.

And that’s what leads the way to the fraud problem. Incentives and payouts are happening online, to people we don’t know, all over the world. This sort of situation is ripe for fraudsters to take advantage.

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How is fraud affecting the end user and brand experience in this regard? What should brands do to protect themselves proactively here?

It affects brands most directly, because they’re spending a fraction of their budget paying out fraudsters. The market research or marketing incentives company that is doing work on their behalf suffers as well, because of a tarnished reputation.

End users who are good actors wind up being chafed by the systems companies put in place to block fraudsters. They wind up having to jump through hoops, provide IDs, or do other tasks that make them less likely to want to participate. When the good actor recipient has a bad experience, it reflects badly on the brand sending the reward.

To protect themselves, brands can do one of two things:

  • Know exactly who they are paying out. The challenge is that fraudsters are tricky– they’ll use phone farms, multiple emails, IP addresses with VPNs. It’s a cat and mouse game so brands should prepare to invest.
  • Use a incentives provider like Tremendous that has fraud protection built in. We use AI to detect fraudsters, even when they’re cycling through different identities. And it’s free!

When it comes to some of the biggest frauds in the recent years in the online marketplace: what are some of the biggest ones that have affected key brands and how have they come out of it: can you share top takeaways?

We don’t want to call out individual brands, because fraud is embarrassing. But a well-known client in the market research industry got taken for $120K in just a few weeks. They just so happened to be using Tremendous and turned on our fraud tool, so they saved almost half a million dollars.

Another single fraudster cycled through 2024 different emails and 705 IP addresses to defraud 27 different clients. The takeaway here is that fraudsters aren’t just going after individual companies – they’re going after entire industries.

How are you seeing AI influence this space?

AI is a powerful tool for us to detect suspicious activity from fraudsters. But AI is also available to fraudsters, and they use it to generate junk data in research studies, for example.

So AI is just a part of the long-term cat-and-mouse game between all of us and the fraudsters. Fortunately, we have a fantastic engineering and data team that continuously improve our algorithms with the latest cutting-edge technology, so our clients don’t have to think about it.

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Tremendous help users and businesses send one-off payments to people around the world.

Kapil Kale, is co-founder and COO of Tremendous

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