September 14, 2021

Welcoming Truepic to the M12 portfolio


James Wu

I’m excited to welcome Truepic—the pioneer of provenance-based media authentication—to the M12 portfolio as lead of their Series B funding round.

The rise of deepfakes and democratization of sophisticated image editing software have put both news outlets and technology companies under pressure to address the spread of disinformation and visual deception. A gamut of technologies, ranging from cheapfakes to synthetic media, have lowered the barrier to create believable content to the naked eye.

While artificial creation or modification of media has its benefits, Truepic believes that necessary countermeasures and open standards must be in place to improve online safety and maintain our shared sense of reality online. Truepic empowers viewers to make better-informed decisions about the photos and videos they consume, mitigating the negative political discourse, reputational consequences, or fraudulent claims resulting from nefarious use. The company’s solution has already verified millions of photos and videos captured from over 150 countries globally. 

In March of 2021, the FBI warned companies of threats from deepfakes: “[m]alicious actors almost certainly will leverage synthetic content for cyber and foreign influence operations in the next 12-18 months.” Manipulation of media metadata—such as date, time, and location—is particularly easy with several mobile and web apps today and can even be adjusted prior to an image capture. While pixel data manipulation previously required a degree of artistic skill to be convincing, machine learning has lowered the bar to advanced manipulation—or even outright synthesis—of pixel content. Unfortunately, this data adjustment leaves no trace.

Controlled Capture is Truepic’s secure media provenance camera technology, which ensures the integrity of photos and videos from the point of capture. Their technology acquires high-integrity data, analyzes for traces of manipulation, and protects each file with cryptographic hashing. Then, Truepic Controlled Capture cryptographically credentials and seals the data along with auxiliary metadata to maintain chain of custody. Each artifact is analyzed through a verification pipeline that stress tests the media file to ensure trustworthiness before, during, and after photo capture. 

Truepic technology can identify post-capture manipulation as well, applying proprietary detection algorithms and computer vision techniques. Truepic Vision, their flagship product built on Controlled Capture, enables its users to instantly gather and view trusted visual documentation from anywhere in the world. With the heightened awareness of deepfakes as a new enterprise threat vector, authenticated provenance solutions like Truepic will become an integral part of an enterprise’s end-to-end fraud management strategy. Today, Truepic is used by 100+ enterprise customers including Equifax, Ford, and Transunion.

CEO Jeffrey McGregor brings over a decade of entrepreneurial experience successfully founding and exiting a company. He holds numerous patents in the field of image forensics, authenticity, and verification. Founder and President Craig Stack brings deep entrepreneurial experience as well as the founder of a life insurance credit company. The team is stacked with entrepreneurs and well-networked executives with notable experience at venture-scale companies. 

Truepic is a founding member of the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity, an initiative battling disinformation and deception in applications ranging from digital news to online commerce. Fellow alliance members include Adobe, Arm, BBC, Intel, Microsoft, and Twitter. The initiative’s charter is to develop an open technical standard that provides publishers, creators, and consumers the ability to trace the origin of different media types. 

I’m thrilled to join the ranks of other new investors: Adobe, Hearst, Stone Point Capital, and Sony, and to serve as a board director for the organization. Congratulations to Jeffrey, Craig, and the entire team on this major milestone. We look forward to your continued growth!