Truepic, the San Diego startup on a mission to restore trust to the internet, has raised $26 million in a Series B funding round led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund.
Adobe, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, Hearst Ventures and individuals from Stone Point Capital also participated in the round.
Since its founding in 2015, Truepic, which makes digital image verification software, has raised $36 million.
Engadget called Truepic “one of tech’s biggest winners” in 2020. The company’s patented platform uses AI (artificial intelligence) to recognize whether a photo or video has been manipulated. Rather than trying to detect so-called ‘deep fakes’ − AI-manipulated digital images − Truepic’s technology proves what images are actually real, said Jeffrey McGregor, CEO at Truepic.
“The explosion of deceptive visual media online has bred an incredible amount of distrust among consumers and businesses alike, threatening private enterprise through fraud and brand degradation,” McGregor said. “As the tools to generate entirely synthetic photos and videos continue to become widely available, this distrust will continue to grow, ultimately casting doubt around the authenticity of all digital media.”
Company Revenues Triple Over Past Year
Truepic joined forces with local tech giant Qualcomm in 2019. The strategic partnership will allow Truepic’s image-verification technology to be fully integrated into future Snapdragon chips, which go into millions of mobile devices each year.
McGregor said Truepic’s revenues increased over 300% last year.
Now with companies like Microsoft, Adobe and Sony also in its corner, the company is poised to become one of the leaders in the burgeoning digital image verification niche.
“We are thrilled to have a powerhouse group of investors to help us scale our technology and expedite our fight against visual deception and fraud,” McGregor said.
Completion of the funding round will allow the company to speed up the release of a new product, Truepic Lens − and to increase distribution for its flagship product, Truepic Vision.
Truepic also plans to add staff. The head count at the company has doubled – to 50 – over the past year and McGregor expects Truepic’s team will double again over the next 18 months.
The company holds 13 patents for its technology, which is used by A-list customers like Equifax, Ford Motors and Palomar. Truepic also helps big banks and insurers fight fraud and operate more efficiently by verifying images and speeding up document approval.
Industry insiders say the proliferation of more and more sophisticated image manipulation is eroding both trust and informed decision-making on the internet.
In November of 2020, Twitter, Adobe and the New York Times unveiled a ‘Content Authenticity Initiative’ meant to help “empower consumers to better evaluate and understand content online.”
Last year, Adobe began tagging images with origin data in order to help news publishers, social network users and consumers avoid getting duped.
Securing the Pipeline from Image to Capture
Any company with a platform that relies on visual media can benefit from Truepic’s technology, McGregor said, because photos and videos captured through its camera are cryptographically assured to be unedited, original images with “trusted” metadata such as time, date and location.
“Truepic takes a deeply integrated approach to image provenance by securing the pipeline from capture to usage,” said Gen Tsuchikawa, chief investment manager for Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) and CEO and chief investment officer for Innovation Growth Ventures (IGV).
“Our investment in Truepic further builds upon SIF’s portfolio of authentication, identification and trust-enabling start-ups and we look forward to the company further growing across industry verticals and geographies,” Tsuchikawa added.
Truepic is a founding-member of the world’s first media authentication standards body, called the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA). Other C2PA steering committee members include Adobe, Arm, BBC, Intel, Microsoft and Twitter.
“Increasing collaboration amongst technology partners will lay important groundwork for a trusted visual ecosystem across the internet,” McGregor said.
CEO: Jeffrey McGregor
Headquarters: San Diego
Contact: (619) 512-9759
Notable: The Co. estimates that smartphones capture 1.2+ trillion digital images a year.