In recent years, the European fintech landscape has been significantly impacted by the Wirecard debacle, a major financial scandal involving questionable accounting practices. Pav Gill, 40, the whistleblower who approached the Financial Times with the revelations, was pivotal in unveiling these malpractices. The former Singapore-based head of legal for Wirecard’s Asia-Pacific region is setting up whistleblowing platform Confide.
Transition from Legal Counsel to Entrepreneurship
Throughout the Financial Times‘ coverage, Pav Gill maintained his anonymity. It wasn’t until after the revelation of the company’s true state in 2020 — leading to Wirecard‘s insolvency filing — that he came forward. As an only child of a first-generation Sikh immigrant single mother, Pavandeep “Pav” Gill was born and raised in Singapore.
Post-Wirecard, Pav Gill has embarked on a new entrepreneurial journey. Collaborating with his colleague, Ryan Dougherty, Gill has launched Confide, a platform designed to facilitate whistleblowers in voicing their concerns securely without resorting to external avenues like the media. Gill emphasizes that Confide encourages organizational transparency, urging management to address issues rather than suppressing them.
European Union’s Whistleblowing Directive
Following Gill’s exit from Wirecard in 2018, the European Union has introduced a directive mandating companies with a workforce of 50 or more to implement a comprehensive internal reporting mechanism. This system should empower employees to report organizational misconduct while protecting them against retaliatory actions. With the compliance deadline of December 17 looming, this presents a timely opportunity for Gill’s nascent venture.
Operational Dynamics of Confide
Targeting a broad spectrum of businesses, Confide offers a subscription-based whistleblowing platform that operates externally, ensuring employers cannot tamper with the shared data. The platform incorporates multiple protective measures for whistleblowers, including encryption and anonymity options.
Upon receiving a report, companies must acknowledge it within a week and provide feedback within three months post-investigation. If whistleblowers find the resolution unsatisfactory, they can approach media outlets or relevant regulatory bodies.
The EU directive also necessitates appointing an impartial individual to oversee whistleblowing cases. Companies can opt for Gill and Dougherty’s expertise as external case managers.
Positioning in the Market
While several whistleblowing platforms, such as EQS, NAVEX, Vault Platform, and Whistleblower Software, are already operational, Gill believes that his firsthand experience as a whistleblower offers Confide a unique selling proposition. He envisions Confide as a trusted intermediary for both employees and corporations.
For startups lacking the resources to employ a full-time case manager, Gill foresees a significant demand for Confide‘s outsourced case manager service. With a current team comprising ex-consultants and financial experts, Gill is optimistic about scaling the team post securing investor funding.
Additionally, Confide plans to offer a tool to enlighten management about whistleblowing’s significance in organizational culture.
The Changing Landscape of Corporate Culture
Gill observes a paradigm shift in the corporate world, moving from a culture of silence to one that encourages voicing concerns. He believes the younger generation, particularly Gen Z, is at the forefront of this change, advocating a more open and transparent work environment.
Gill, in collaboration with Dougherty, is gearing up to launch Confide in October with a select group of clients and is actively seeking investment opportunities.