Harnessing AI/ML: How Riskified and FreeWheel became industry leaders

Learn how advanced AI/ML integration transforms data management and ushers in a new era of efficient, scalable, and rapid data processing.

Lenley Hensarling
Chief Product Officer
February 12, 2024|5 min read

In today’s enterprises, the efficient processing of large data sets powers smart, AI-driven decision-making. The fusion of AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning) with real-time distributed database technologies marks a critical shift, transforming data into a strategic asset that reshapes real-time decision-making and creates enormous operational efficiencies.

This integration presents significant challenges, including the hardware and power demands of scaling AI/ML for training models and applying the generated features for inference at the edge. As businesses strive to harness these technologies, ensuring scalability without compromising resource efficiency becomes essential. And happily, focusing on efficiency has great effects on sustainability.

Highlighting this journey, two innovative Aerospike customers recently shared their AI/ML experiences at AWS re:Invent —Riskified, which helps companies combat online fraud, and FreeWheel, the engine driving Comcast’s multi-billion dollar advertising operations.

How Riskified fights online fraud in real time

For over a decade, Riskified has been at the forefront of combatting e-commerce fraud, supporting prominent brands like Prada, Wayfair, and DoorDash across more than 180 countries. With a team of 750 employees, their mission extends beyond mere fraud detection to crafting seamless and secure shopping experiences for legitimate customers, all while effectively sidelining fraudsters. Achieving this intricate balance relies on advanced AI/ML technologies capable of discerning genuine transactions from fraudulent activity in real time.

At re:Invent, Shai Peretz, SVP of Engineering at Riskified, shared their journey, highlighting the evolution of their fraud detection platform to meet the dynamic landscape of e-commerce fraud. Their dedication to providing secure, seamless experiences for legitimate customers while thwarting fraudulent activities has necessitated the deployment of sophisticated, AI-driven technologies for real-time transaction analysis.

As Riskified scaled, it became evident that its initial database infrastructure was ill-equipped to support its growing needs. The limitations of their previous system became a bottleneck, stifling their ability to manage data efficiently, scale effectively, and maintain the accuracy and speed of their fraud detection mechanisms. This realization prompted a pivotal shift towards a more robust, scalable solution capable of real-time data processing, high-performance data handling, and a cost-effective scaling model, crucial for sustaining their growth and maintaining the high standards of their fraud detection services.

Transitioning to a modern, real-time database platform significantly enhanced Riskified’s operational capabilities. It enabled them to easily handle peak traffic periods like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, ensuring real-time data processing and minimal latency. This transition enhanced their accuracy and speed in detecting fraud and improved operational cost efficiency and a superior customer experience by expediting transaction validation. As a result, Riskified has solidified its market position in the field of fraud detection services, boasting an impressive client retention rate of over 99%.

This strategic move by Riskified represents more than just an answer to immediate operational challenges; it marks an advancement into new territories of digital commerce. By adopting a cutting-edge platform, Riskified has addressed its present needs and laid the groundwork for future innovation and growth. This evolution underscores the transformative potential of sophisticated database technology in reshaping business strategies and enhancing operational efficiencies.

FreeWheel’s AdTech innovations

FreeWheel, a Comcast company, has been revolutionizing advertising technology (AdTech) for many years, serving over 90% of the top media companies in the US and Europe. Known for its precise audience targeting, FreeWheel’s technology plays a pivotal role in major events like the Super Bowl and the World Cup, managing a massive scale of data—processing around 216 billion ad bid requests daily.

Ujjwal Wadhawan, Senior Director of Data Engineering at FreeWheel, detailed the complexity of their operations and emphasized the need for rapid, sub-millisecond response times. This need drove Freewheel to adopt a robust AI and data management infrastructure designed to address significant challenges, such as ensuring brand safety, accommodating customer customization needs, and adapting to diverse audience viewing habits.This need drove Freewheel to adopt a robust AI and data management infrastructure, which has posed significant technical challenges, including ensuring brand safety, accommodating customer customization needs, and adapting to diverse audience viewing habits.

Adopting a high-performance database and AI platform was a crucial factor for FreeWheel’s real-time bidding success. This capability allowed FreeWheel to process 2.5 million requests per second, significantly enhancing their bidding success rate and overall system efficiency. The new platform’s advanced data storage solutions, real-time data processing capabilities, and scalability features were instrumental in boosting FreeWheel’s performance while reducing operational costs.This strategic shift resolved FreeWheel’s immediate technical and operational challenges and opened new avenues for innovation and growth in the AdTech space. It stands as a testament to the transformative power of integrating cutting-edge database technology with AI/ML capabilities, setting a new benchmark for performance and efficiency in real-time bidding environments.

Build your AI/ML future with Aerospike

Aerospike is thrilled to collaborate with innovative customers such as Riskified and FreeWheel. Together, we’re pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in database technology and across AI, real-time data processing, and decision-making. Businesses are striving to keep pace with the relentless innovation in AI and algorithms, expanding their capabilities to utilize vast amounts of data more effectively than ever before. As this trend continues, the demand for efficient, scalable, and rapid data processing solutions becomes increasingly evident. With its advanced AI/ML integration, Aerospike is leading this charge. We provide businesses with the tools needed to swiftly transform data into actionable insights, marking the dawn of a new era in data management.