#64 Language I/O Founders on USD 5m Series A, AI Writer, Translation Pricing Report

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Language I/O Co-founders Heather Shoemaker (CEO) and Kaarina Kvaavik (CBO) join the pod this week to discuss their newly announced Series A round, channel partnerships with CRM systems, expanding beyond their core multilingual customer support offering, and the future of subscription-based pricing models.

The two duo join SlatorPod fresh off their USD 5m funding round, which was announced on March 23, 2021. Kaarina and Heather discuss their journey from founding and bootstrapping Language I/O to bringing on angel and VC investors in early 2021, and their plans for deploying the latest investment.

Heather talks about the challenge of working with user-generated customer support content and Language I/O’s approach to identifying and dealing with “problematic” content. She describes Language I/O’s CRM integrations, and their approach to supporting major enterprises with their MT-based multilingual customer support offering.

Kaarina talks about the company’s tiered-subscription pricing models for both machine-only and human post-edited translation, their use of channel partnerships with CRM systems, growing the sales team, and their plans to expand beyond the customer support arena.

First up, Florian and Esther discuss the role of the “translators” (read: interpreters) that facilitated the recent US-China talks in Alaska, and the differences in the coverage they received from Vice, South China Morning Post, and Reuters.

Esther shares highlights from video game services provider Keywords Studios’ 2020 financial results. The company grew revenues by 14% from 2019, while its Localization segment was the only business line to report declines.

Florian applauds the success of his latest SaaS find: Copy.ai. The startup raised USD 2.9m with its multilingual copy-generating offering and is built atop OpenAI’s GPT-3, the world’s largest language model. Copy.ai follows in the footsteps of OthersideAI, which raised USD 2.6m in 2020.

The two also talk about Slator’s newly released Pro Guide on Translation Pricing and Procurement, which dives deep into established and emerging translation pricing models, and lifts the lid on translation and localization procurement practices among buyers.

00:00:00 Agenda and Intro
00:02:32 Slator’s Pro Guide on Translation Pricing and Procurement
00:09:37 Mistranslations at the China Summit
00:13:47 Keywords FY20 Results
00:18:38 Copy.ai raises $2.9m
00:27:47 Heather Shoemaker and Kaarina Kvaavik join the pod
00:28:58 Intro to Language I/O and company milestones
00:31:31 The co-founders’ background
00:35:13 Decision and process behind raising funds
00:39:33 Current sales and marketing approach
00:41:27 Physical presence and US footprint
00:44:06 Challenges with customer service chat translation
00:46:14 Expanding beyond the customer support area
00:49:04 Tech, integrating with NMT, and engine selection
00:56:22 Post-editing and human services in the typical workflow
00:59:06 Channel and partner universe
01:02:40 Subscription-based pricing
01:07:16 Future of language industry

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