Cloud translation technology company Smartling is poised for a major business expansion following a $160 million investment from Battery Ventures.
Announced by company officials today, the investment will help Smartling ramp up its industry market share. The company’s services are already utilized by heavy hitters like IHG, Shopify, Survey Monkey and Lyft, but company officials believe the cash infusion paves the way for better things to come.
“Two truisms have emerged about today’s enterprises: all business is global, and content drives global business,” said Jack Welde, co-founder and CEO of Smartling. “The third leg of that stool is translation, since nearly all customers want to buy in their own language. This is a tremendous opportunity and we are excited to realize it together with Battery.”
A veteran technology investment firm, Battery Ventures officials believe Smartling’s translation platform is a foundational model for the future. A combination of machine translation (MT) and a translator marketplace, Smartling’s hybrid approach covers both high-volume, low-priority content and more important materials that requires the precision and nuance of human translation. With thousands of qualified professional translators on board, Smartling guarantees its clients that intended meaning and connotation aren’t lost in translation.
“Enterprises generally succeed on the strength of technology, supply chains, people, and workflows,” said Morad Elhafed, general partner at Battery Ventures. “As content has become essential to go-to-market strategies, content distribution has in some sense become its own supply chain and workflow. And, as that content supply chain extends globally, translation at scale has become the critical last mile for global enterprise growth.”
Company officials cite several studies as evidence for the growth potential of the Smartling platform. According to a 2016 McKinsey & Company study, over 361 million people participate in cross-border e-commerce. A study by European banking group Standard Chartered indicates that half of U.S. businesses see their best growth potential outside the U.S., an increase of 30% in only a year. Finally, industry analyst Common Sense Advisory finds that, all things being equal, 76% of buyers prefer to buy a product localized for their primary language.
The capital investment announcement is yet more evidence that much of the business world is staking its claim on an increasingly globalized future. With the localization industry growing each year, investors are counting on a future of dramatic expansion for companies like Smartling.
“This is a significant market opportunity and Smartling is primed to capitalize on it,” said Elhafed, who is joining the Smartling Board of Directors. “We’ve been tracking Jack’s leadership and the company’s trajectory for a while now and are very impressed with its progress and potential. We’re excited to bring our cloud expertise to help Smartling grow to the next level and extend its market leadership.”