Sep 27, 2011
Human Translation Platform Gengo Raises $5.25 Million From Atomico, 500 Startups
Tokyo-based human translation service Gengo(“Mechanical Turk for translations”) has raised a Series A Round of funding. The US$5.25 million round was led by Atomico, the London-based VC firm headed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström, and existing investor 500 Startups. Atomico partner Hiro Tamurawill join Gengo’s board of directors.
This capital injection follows the US$1.75 million in seed funding the company raised from a group of investors so far (Gengo’s other backers include Mitch Kapor, Team Europe Ventures, Point Nine,and more). Gengo says the fresh money will serve to bolster sales/marketing/engineering, to expand its API business, and to grow its global native translator network.
It looks like the Series A Round doesn’t come out of nowhere: Gengo now handles a total of 15 languages (Arabic is the newest addition), up from nine languages a year ago. In the same time frame, the company says it has seen revenue grow 1,000% and that it translated more content in Q1 2011 than in its entire previous history (Gengo has translated over 15 million words to date).
The main bullet point here is that all content is translated by a network of over 3,000 human translators worldwide (no machine translation even for high volumes), with prices starting at US$0.05 per word. For website or app owners, Gengo offers an API solution that the company launched in April last year.
CEO Robert Laing says that currently, 63% of revenue comes in from high-volume media (how-to sites, for example), ecommerce and travel sites – via the quickly growing API service. 17% of revenue is generated through localizing apps, and the rest through translating content and documents for small and mid-sized businesses and individuals worldwide.
According to Laing, Gengo is particularly successful in Japan (where 41% of customers come from), followed by the US (26%), Europe and other markets. The current customer base includes the likes of VW, Audi, Evernote, Pulse, or Greplin.