Defudger is DTU startup of the year 2020

Detection of manipulation receives DTU award

Tuesday 15 Dec 20


Marianne Thellersen
Senior Vice President - Innovation and Entrepreneurship
+45 40 51 44 10
DTU’s award for this year’s student start-up goes to Defudger for their use of artificial intelligence to expose fake photos and videos.

An app for revealing manipulated content in digital images and video will receive DTU’s award as student start-up of the year in 2020. The app was developed by the start-up Defudger, which now has activities in Denmark, Germany, and Hungary. Defudger is founded by Hungarian Dominik Mate Kovacs and Zoltan Kovacs, who are both MSc students at DTU, and former CBS student Kristof Szabo.

“Defudger wants to do something about the increasing use of fake content on the Internet that threatens our democracy and political processes. They are first-movers on the market and show strong determination and an ability to surround themselves with people who help them maintain high speed and quality in their work. Defudger will receive the award as the start-up of the year for a technology that benefits the international community as a whole,” said Marianne Thellersen, Executive Vice President for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at DTU at the presentation of the award and the accompanying prize of DKK 25,000.

Defudger’s technology is designed partly as a mobile phone app that can record suspicious content, and partly as web-based tools for detecting or filtering manipulated content. The solutions combine technologies such as computer vision, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology that make it possible to identify irregular pixelations and color shifts in manipulated images and video.

DTU Skylab funding

In 2019, Defudger received a donation of DKK 150,000 from DTU Skylab Funding and was subsequently accepted in Innovation Fund Denmark’s Innofounder programme. The financing made it possible to hire the first employee in the summer of 2019, after which Defudger oriented itself towards the German market. Here, the team applied to become part of two German acceleration programmes, was accepted by both, and decided to join a 100-day programme at the Axel Springer Porche in Berlin.

"Defudger wants to do something about the increasing use of fake content on the Internet that threatens our democracy and political processes. Defudger has developed a technology that benefits the international community as a whole."
Marianne Thellersen, Senior Vice President - Innovation and Entrepreneurship, DTU

Defudger’s solutions have been tested in collaboration with leading German media companies such as Der Spiegel and the German TV channel ARD. Today, Defudger has eight employees, six of whom are DTU students.


Dominik Mate Kovacs, who is currently COO of Defudger, sees it as an advantage that the start-up is an independent company, so that consumers and partners can be confident that their product is independent of other commercial interests.

"We’re incredibly proud of receiving the DTU award, and we have no doubt that it’s attracting international attention that DTU has supported our project,” says Dominik Mate Kovacs.

Overall fact-checking

Defudger’s solution still requires so much computing power that the solution cannot yet be used by private consumers, but the goal is to develop a user interface that can be used by everyone. Within the next few months, Defudger will put the finishing touches on a technology that can detect fake images in video. Then they work on a technique for detecting manipulated sound, and on combining all functions in a total solution for fact-checking.

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