Machine translation (MT) provider One Hour Translation announced a $10 million private equity (PE) round today, led by existing investor Fortissimo Capital. The company has also changed its name to BLEND as part of a significant rebranding campaign.
First, the investment: In an industry lately replete with PE investments-as-buyout, BLEND independent communications consultant Estee Yaari clarifies that this is not a majority share acquisition, emailing “Fortissimo is not buying BLEND but rather investing in the company.”
In a news release shared by Yaari, Fortissimo founding partner Yuval Cohen says the firm invested in BLEND at this time because it wanted to “keep positioning [the group] as BLEND’s primary investor.” To date, it is their only investor. In 2014, Fortissimo funded the company’s $10 million series A round acquiring one-third ownership, according to news site TechCrunch. Yaari did not share BLEND’s current valuation.
As far as the rebranding goes, Yaari emails, “The company is repositioning from translation to full localization services.” The company’s website and social media accounts have already been updated with the new name and logo.
This is one of several investments made into language industry companies this month — many of them acquisitions through investment, such as with translation management system (TMS) providers XTM International and Phrase. In January, Australian company Straker Translation bought TMS Lingotek for roughly US $6.74 million and, in February, MT provider Lengoo raised $20 million in a series B.
In an emailed interview with MultiLingual, XTM International chief executive officer Bob Willans addressed why the industry has seen so much investment this year: “The translation technology market is undergoing major innovation and growth. The industry is rapidly migrating from being a people intensive process to one where technology is the decisive factor…The [mergers and acquisition] M&A activity is also bought about by companies seeking to consolidate their position, which we think is likely to continue.”