Deepfake Hunting Startup Attracts $ 26 Million From Investors

(TNS) – How much do you really trust the pictures of that vacation rental condo, the dating app portrait, the jarring video on social media, or the used car for sale on the internet ?

Truepic has developed a software platform that helps determine the veracity of digital photos and videos online. This week, the startup raised $ 26 million in a second round of venture capital funding to help fuel its growth – led by M12, the venture capital arm of Microsoft.

Other investors include Adobe, the maker of Photoshop, IVG’s Sony Innovation Fund, Hearst Ventures, and Stone Point Capital.

Founded in 2015, Truepic is part of a group of companies struggling with hard-to-detect, sometimes artificial intelligence-based technologies that manipulate digital photos and videos online. The proliferation of fake images on the Internet has led people to increasingly question everything from online products to news websites.

“As the tools to generate fully synthetic photos and videos continue to become widely available, this distrust will continue to grow, ultimately casting doubt on the authenticity of all digital media,” said Jeffrey McGregor, CEO of Truepic.

While some companies are battling image fraud in a forensic fashion – trying to figure out what’s wrong online – Truepic’s camera technology takes a different approach. It proves what is real.

“From the moment the light hits the camera sensor, we can secure the capture operation, so that we know the pixels, date, time and location are genuine,” Craig said. Stack, Founder and President of Truepic. “Then we seal that information in the file and can verify that what came out of the camera has not been changed.”

What about benign editing for fine-tuning or cropping? Truepic uses cryptography, transparency and other techniques that help distinguish between minor changes and major manipulations, Stack said.

Today, Truepic provides its behind-the-scenes technology to over 100 customers. Insurance companies, for example, use it to filter smartphone photos sent as a result of an accident.

Clients include Accion Opportunity Fund, Equifax, EXL Service, Ford Motor Co., Palomar Holdings, Transunion, United Nations Capital Development Fund, among others. In 2020, Truepic said revenue increased by more than 300%.

The 50-employee company worked with Qualcomm to enable its technology as firmware in the San Diego wireless giant’s latest Snapdragon processors for high-end Android smartphones.

Additionally, Truepic is developing an SDK – or software development kit – that would allow mobile developers to include Truepic authentication in their applications. He hopes to have a beta version of the SDK available later this year, Stack said.

Truepic raised around $ 10 million prior to this recent round. He is a member of the Content Provenance and Authenticity Coalition, or C2PA, which creates industry-wide standards around digital image authentication. Adobe, Arm, BBC, Intel, Microsoft and Twitter are among the founding members of the group.

“Truepic’s technology is essential in our ability to enable provenance of digital images, and their unique ability to capture secure media makes their platform unmatched in the market,” said Will Allen, vice president of product for Adobe. “We are delighted to support their efforts to resolve this important issue and are delighted to continue our work together to restore trust online. “

© 2021 The Union-Tribune of San Diego. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Margie D. Carlisle