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Flint and FRII team up to fund fake-photo finder

0 6 February 2014

Flint Capital has teamed up with the Internet Initiative Development Foundation (FRII in Russian) to make a seed investment in Picture Manipulation Inspector (PMI) – a service which enables the user to determine the authenticity of a digital image. The investment will be used to increase sales and to prepare for foreign expansion. The value of the deal has not been disclosed, but FRII’s contribution is thought to be between $250,000 and $450,000. 

For the last 3 months PMI has been a resident of the FRII startup accelerator, which was launched last autumn. Almost $200 million from the federal budget have been pledged to the project, which some have dubbed "Putin's Skolkovo".  

Picture Manipulation Inspector enables the user to determine the authenticity of a digital image (from photographs to scanned documents). Through its Computer Vision technology the service reveals retouches and other changes in order to establish how much the image has been altered from the original. 

According to the press release “the project will be relevant for insurance, energy and advertising companies as well as forensic experts worldwide”. Representatives of the project say that the service could be used to verify the authenticity of electronic documents, and photoreports, as well as for identifying faces on dating websites and other internet resources. According to the company, they currently have orders worth almost $600,000.

Oleg Seydak, partner at Flint Capital

We were particularly impressed by the advanced technology behind the product, and because no dominant global player has established itself in the sector. We were won over by the professionalism of the team and its approach to business. The presence of a paying customer base in the B2B segment was important for us. We estimate the potential value of this niche worldwide to exceed $1 billion per year, and we believe that PMI can claim at least 10% of this in the medium term.

PMI's Commercial Director Aleksey Kyzniez called Flint Capital “the driving force behind the deal” and said that the advice and services offered by Flint Capital and FRII “blend perfectly with our plans”.

This is the first joint project for state-funded FRII and private Flint Capital, but it may not be the last. FRII director Kirill Varlamov explained that “we hope that Flint’s management team will find lots of interesting projects in our accelerator and that we will be able to close more deals together.”

SMTDP Tech Ltd, which produces the specialist software for the Picture Manipulation Inspector and Document Manipulation Inspector, was founded in 2011. 

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