Digital image verification software provider TruePic has raised $26 million in a Series B funding round led by Microsoft’s venture fund M12.
Individuals from Adobe, Sony Innovation Fund, Hearst Ventures and Stone Point Capital also participated in the financing by IGV, which raises the total since the 2015 founding of San Diego-based TruePic to $36 million.
Instead of trying to figure out what’s fake, Tropic says its patented “Safe” camera technology proves it’s real. The startup’s technology obtains “origin” data (such as origin, content and metadata) about photos and videos and uses cryptography to protect the images from tampering before they reach the intended recipients.
As such, the company says its software can verify where the photos were taken and prove they weren’t manipulated because of the increasing number of deceptive photos and personal information that can be used on the dark web, social media and May be purchased through software that may change the time or location metadata of an image.
TruePic CEO Jeff McGregor told Nerdshala, “Our approach is unique in that we are verifying the authenticity of content at that point, also known as ‘Provence-based media authentication,’ which is known as anomalies. Also known as edit detection or post-capture.” . “We believe that detection of fake images and videos will not be feasible or scalable. Provence-based media authentication is the most promising approach to universal visual trust online.”
TruePic’s camera technology is software based, and runs on mobile devices. According to McGregor, photographs and videos captured through its cameras are assured cryptographically unedited, original images, along with “trusted” metadata such as time, date and location.
In particular, TruePic’s technology — for which it holds 13 patents — has been popular among a growing number of financial services companies, McGregor said. For example, insurance companies are using it to verify claims remotely. This has been particularly meaningful during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in its early days when personal interactions were avoided at all costs. But it also has many other use cases, he said.
The company must be doing something right. Its technology is used by over 100 enterprises such as Equifax, EXL Service Inc., Ford Motor Company, Axion Opportunity Fund and Palomar.
And last year, TruePic says its revenue grew more than 300% due to “dramatic customer growth” in the insurance, banking, automotive, peer-to-peer commerce, project management and international development industries. McGregor declined to reveal hard revenue figures, however, making it difficult to know just how significant the 300% revenue growth is. He said the company is intentionally not yet profitable as it is currently focused on speed of delivery for its core technology.
According to McGregor, the use cases for TruePic’s technology are quite broad, given how widespread the incredible photos and videos are. Its customers include any organization that ingests digital photo or video content, and requires a high degree of trust in that content. For example, it works with insurance companies, banks, peer to peer commerce, online marketplaces, real estate and franchise organizations, warranty providers, and automotive companies. Generally, companies with platforms that rely on visual media — such as home rentals, news media, online dating, social media, e-commerce, the sharing economy, traditional media — can benefit from TruePic’s technology, according to McGregor. Huh.
“We envision a world where the origin and authenticity of all digital content is verifiable, allowing humans to gain more trust in what they see online,” he said.
M12 principal James Wu said that tThe number of online deep-fake videos and synthetic media is increasing rapidly.
“Made in nefarious ways, manipulated media can result in negative political discourse, reputational consequences, and fraudulent claims,” he wrote via email. “The pervasiveness of synthetic media poses an increasing business risk for corporations – especially established brands – and solutions like TruePic will become an integral part of an enterprise’s end-to-end fraud management strategy.”
He described TruePic as a “pioneer” in Provence technology, which M12 believes is the most reliable way to establish the integrity of the data contained in photo and video files.
“There has been a lot of investment in synthetic media, but very few are thinking about the other side of the coin – when synthetic media are used in nefarious ways,” he said. “TruePic is at the forefront of providing the tools to maintain a shared sense of reality online.”
“The company plans to use its new capital toward accelerating the release of a new product, the TruePic lens, that will power “reliable” image capture in third-party applications,” McGregor said. Or regardless of the use-case,” McGregor said.
“This will create a single integration point for any customer that needs reliable media to run their service,” he said.
It plans to use the new capital to increase distribution for its current flagship product, TruePic Vision, a “turnkey” platform for solicitation and “instant” review of reliable photos and videos from anywhere in the world.
The company also, naturally, plans to hire. It currently has 50 employees, up from around 25 a year ago. McGregor expects Tropic’s team to double to 100 in the next 18 months.