The power of facial recognition has been widely publicized; in fact, members of the Air Force have stated that facial recognition could improve productivity and enhance accuracy when base defenders are manually sifting through photos and video feeds of people near military installations. Trueface, a leader in facial recognition and computer vision, has built the perfect solution. that’s already being used in the field with the Air Force. Trueface’s software detects structure and patterns in peoples’ faces as well as to detect dangerous threats (guns, knives, etc) and alert officials; all using existing camera infrastructure. Trueface, founded in 2018, is also working with retailers to figure out ways that facial recognition can be used to enhance and personalize shoppers’ experiences. For people who are concerned about their privacy, Trueface blurs unknown faces.
LA TechWatch sat down with Shaun Moore to learn more about how Trueface can be used everywhere from the Super Bowl to the airport, the company’s future growth plans, and latest round of funding, which brings its total funding to $5M across four rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised $3.7M Seed round from Lavrock Ventures (DC-based), Scout Ventures (NYC-based) and Advantage Ventures (LA-based).
Tell us about the product or service Trueface offers.
Trueface is a computer vision company that transforms imagery and video feeds into intelligent, actionable data. Utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, Trueface technology is making both public and private environments safer and smarter through face recognition, object recognition, gun detection, license plate recognition, and automated age verification.
What inspired you to start Trueface?
My cofounder, Nezare Chafni, and I were in Casablanca, Morocco when we came up with the idea of a face-recognition-enabled doorbell. We were scouring Kickstarter and government papers back in 2012 and after reading an article about the potential for face recognition we were all in. We spent the next five years trying to convince people that we weren’t crazy (although maybe just a little bit) and that face recognition would one day be a critical part of our lives. In 2017, we were rejected from Y-Combinator at the final interview, which forced us to pause and think critically about what we were trying to accomplish. We made a conscious decision to transition the company from building smart doorbells to leading an initiative in computer vision. Leaning on our expertise in facial recognition, we quickly signed enterprise clients and were accepted into 500 Startups Batch 22. We made a bold prediction back in 2012 that the future of authentication would be with our faces and this is now starting to come true.
How is Trueface different?
We are founded on three core principles:
- Humanity First
- Data Security
- Total Transparency
We are a US-based company that builds all of our technology here in Venice. The Trueface team designed the company’s infrastructure with data privacy at its core. Today, our society is worried about how our data is used by companies, so we have taken certain precautions – by blurring unknown faces and fleeting data in appropriate deployments, the personal data of those who have not opted-in is never recorded. Trueface’s SDKs and dockerized container solutions are hardware agnostic, running on almost any infrastructure. All client deployments are on-premise, which increases data security, speed, and overall performance.
How can Trueface’s technology be used to reduce gun violence in America?
Gun violence is becoming an increasing problem in America, which we take very seriously. We have developed a packaged solution that includes detecting weapons in real-time. With this solution running on camera infrastructure at schools, offices, and public places we can reduce the response time when an incident does occur and provide critical information like location and description of perpetrators to first responders. We are witnessing a growing demand for this solution and are proud to provide this type of technology to our clients.
What market are you targeting and how big is it?
Our goal is to make the benefits of computer vision accessible to all and completely trustworthy. The computer vision market was valued at $9.28B in 2017 and is now set to reach a valuation of $48.32B by the end of 2023.
What’s your business model?
We charge our clients an annual licensing fee.
What was the funding process like?
The process was strenuous. It was critically important that we found the right investors who align with the vision of our company. I have seen it happen time and time again where founders will take money because its money and not consider the long-term consequences of the incentives of those investors. We deliberately sought out investors aligned with our values, and fortunately, after a few months of tracking our progress, they were ready to make an investment. Our investors are an extension of our team and our brand, so it was crucial that they understood our core values and genuinely wanted to help us grow.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
It’s an interesting dynamic of information sharing, momentum building, and negotiation. Each stage of raising capital has its own obstacles but with the transition of Seed rounds to Series A rounds, we continued to hear ‘no’ with some sort of explanation about revenue traction. We were stuck in what seemed like a never-ending cycle of not having ‘enough’ revenue.
Each stage of raising capital has its own obstacles but with the transition of Seed rounds to Series A rounds we continued to hear ‘no’ with some sort of explanation about revenue traction. We were stuck in what seemed like a never-ending cycle of not having ‘enough’ revenue.
Finding investors that understand your sales cycle, align with your go-to-market strategy, and can truly help is not an easy task, all the while running a business.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Trust, vision, and execution.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We recently secured a contract with the DoD and will be laser-focused on delivering on our promise.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Raising money is not for everyone. The dynamic of the company will undoubtedly change and the goal is that it changes for the good. If you can fund your company with revenue that is the single greatest source of capital in the market. If not, find people that you can call at 11 pm at night knowing they will answer your call.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Our vision is to empower the world’s camera infrastructure. The team will concentrate on making our computer vision solutions plug and play, opening up the market for even those who are non-technical or don’t have engineering resources to benefit from our solutions. We will also be looking to hire talent in LA.
What is your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
I tend to prefer the Galley for a beverage but Great White is my favorite spot to kick back and have a coffee.