South Africa’s Orca Fraud Secures $550K to Tackle Fraud in Emerging Markets

  • Orca, a South African fintech startup founded by Thalia Pillay and Carla Wilby, raised $550,000 in a pre-seed round to develop effective fraud prevention tools tailored for emerging markets.
  • The funding round, led by Norrsken22 with contributions from various investors, will enable Orca to expand its team and refine its fraud and compliance products based on insights from over 150 fraud professionals.
  • Orca aims to address the unique fraud challenges faced by African banks and fintechs, leveraging its founders’ extensive experience and strategic investor support to build a specialized, data-driven fraud prevention platform.

Zoom in…

Orca, a South African banking and fintech fraud prevention startup, has raised a $550,000 pre-seed round to build simple, yet effective fraud prevention tools and iterate with customers in South Africa.

The oversubscribed round was led by Norrsken22 with participation from First Circle Capital, Musha Ventures, Kara Ventures as well as several strategic business angels and family and friends.

Founded in January 2024 by Thalia Pillay and Carla WilbyOrca aims to empower fraud analysts and compliance officers with the tools they need to effectively combat various types of fraud. The company has interviewed over 150 fraud professionals and fintech founders to understand what is happening in the fraud landscape and has seen the overwhelming need for effective, yet targeted solutions.


There has been a sharp rise in fraud in South Africa, with as much as a 600% increase in reported fraud cases since 2018 (SAFPS, 2022) due to the rise and growing adoption of digital payment methods (Payshap, mobile money, cross border payments, e-wallets etc). Unfortunately, the present fraud and AML prevention providers are trained to fight fraud in first-world countries and are not tailored to fight fraud in Africa and other emerging markets.

Orca is therefore launching to tackle modular fraud cases and protect users from the damaging repercussions of fraud. With this funding raised, Orca plans to expand its team and build, validate and iterate on their fraud and compliance products. Orca will be hiring over the next few months and aims to build out a world-class team to innovate towards a fraud-free future.

What they’re saying…

According to Thalia Pillay, co-founder of Orca, “We are excited about the strategic investors we have onboard, who can provide us with various types of support we are looking for at this early-stage. We aimed to have a diverse cap table that reflects where and how we plan on growing the business. Most of our investors are builders themselves who have successfully navigated B2B and fraud spaces which makes them especially relevant to us.”

Nivesh Pather, Norrsken22, said, “We have seen the quantum and complexity of fraud challenges faced by emerging market banks and fintechs, specifically in Africa, as they scale to provide increased financial inclusion. Orca is building a fraud prevention solution that is tailored for the African market.”

Carla and Thalia first met whilst studying engineering at the University of Cape Town in 2015. Upon leaving university, Carla founded an EdTech named Zelda which was selected into the Injini cohort and Google Launchpad. Carla and Thalia have since worked in the fintech and startup industry. Their decision to start Orca was prompted by witnessing firsthand the volume of fraud present in African fintechs and banks. A lot of fraud they’ve seen is preventable but businesses aren’t sufficiently protected

“We invested in Orca Fraud because of their focus on building an orchestrated fraud prevention platform, with tailored fraud models based on a company’s transactional data. Thalia and Carla are super strong product experts and experienced in fraud risk management. We are bullish about the scaling potential of the solution they are building,” said Selma Ribica, Co-Founder of First Circle Capital.


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