Running a truly global business is easier than ever thanks to the web, but language issues remain a problem.
That’s where Smartling, a company that has developed a powerful cloud translation platform, comes in. Smartling is announcing today that it has raised an additional $24 million led by Tenaya Capital, which will help it to focus more on large enterprise customers.
When we last covered Smartling, two years ago, the company was offering its translation platform as a freemium service to businesses of all sizes. Since then, it’s found that big enterprise companies are a better fit for its platform, founder and chief executive Jack Welde tells me. That’s something I’ve been noticing with many software-as-a-service companies — enterprises pay more and typically have a greater demand for cloud tools.
“The types of companies that are looking for this are not largely companies looking into a freemium offering,” Welde tells me.
Smartling helps companies centralize all of their translation plans, so they can easily translate things like their websites, apps, and other media. All of Smartling’s translations go past several sets of eyes: the initial translator, a translation editor, and an internal reviewer. It usually takes around two days for something like a press release to get fully translated, but you can pay extra for a 24-hour turnaround. Welde notes that a “major” news publisher is paying a premium to get one-hour turnaround times.
“If 2013 was the year of mobile, 2014 is going to be the year of global,” Welde says. “It’s a big demographic change, the global middle class is changing dramatically … in 10-15 years it’ll be folks in China, South America, Eastern Europe.”
Over time, there will be even more of a demand for businesses to make their content available in as many languages as possible. And even though auto-translation services like Google Translate have come a long way, it will be some time before they’re accurate enough for mission-critical content.
Welde says Smartling has “hundreds of paying enterprise customers.” Revenue has more than tripled over the past year, and Smartling plans to add a hundred new employees on top of its current 80. Current customers include Dropbox, Spotify, TED, and Twilio.
Smartling plans to use the funding to grow its business and expand internationally. Welde says he’s currently looking for a location in Europe for a sales and marketing office. The company currently has half of its development team in New York City and the other half in Europe.
New York City-based Smartling has raised a total of $38 million so far. This latest round added Harmony Partners as a new investor, and it included previous investors Venrock, U.S. Venture Partners, IDG Ventures, First Round Capital, and Felicis Ventures. (Disclosure: Aydin Senkut of Felicis is an investor in VentureBeat.)
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