Language I/O (LIO) has raised $8 million in a Series A1 funding round led by Joint Effects. Other participants in the round included the Wyoming Business Council, Gutbrain Ventures, PBJ Capital and Omega Venture Partners.
LIO solves the translation challenge for organisations that target international customers. The solution integrates with applications including Salesforce, Oracle, Zendesk, ServiceNow, Microsoft Teams and ServiceNow and can be extended to others using its API. It provides an inline translation of any text in a chat conversation, content or case information. The solution has several applications listed on the Salesforce App Exchange, offering translations in over 150 languages.
One review states, “The translations Language I/O provides through machine and human translations are outstanding and make our customers feel as if the support agent they’re working with is a native speaker. We loved having the ability to create a glossary that recognized our company-specific terminology. We find the Language I/O team easy to work with. They’re very responsive, they take data protection measures seriously and their integrations are seamless.”
LIO is looking to expand its machine learning (ML) team and integrate generative AI to improve its translation quality. The next step on this will be to develop multi-lingual LLM powered chatbots.
Heather Shoemaker, Founder and CEO at Language I/O, commented, “The recent AI boom has driven groundbreaking innovation, and this funding will allow us to harness the trusted power of generative AI to further develop our platform and provide enterprises with superior translation capabilities.
“As we continue to use this technology to innovate, LIO is dedicated to upholding data security standards by protecting customers’ privacy and limiting data collection and storage. Our ability to raise significant VC funding during tough market conditions is a testament to the strength and value of our technology.”
Solving the language challenge
In this modern internet world, its is very easy to sell to companies and customers abroad. However, for many firms selling on an international market is only easy when customers speak their native language, often English. LIO aims to solve that challenge.
LIO will continue to develop its real-time translation platform, aiming to remove the language barriers for both internal and external communication. Its intent is to foster seamless global communication. It is an ideal that is not without its challenges. However, the impact of LLMs and AI is making a difference and starting to understand the nuance, structure and colloquialisms of communicating in a foreign language. LIO aims to resolve these issues, improving the translations for businesses worldwide.
Growing the economy in Wyoming
The largest investor in the round was the Wyoming Business Council’s Wyoming Venture Capital (WYVC) Fund. WYVC was set up with up to $58.4 million through the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program. It opened applications in April 2023 and Language I/O is the first recipient. While details of how much it contributed was not revealed it would have been no more than $5 million. The aim (of) WYVC is to invest in early stage startups based in Wyoming, with the intent to grow the state economy.
Gordon Finnegan, Business Council Equity Portfolio Manager, said, “Heather has helped foster a culture of community involvement and advancement in Wyoming. The creation and innovation of Language I/O has bolstered our local economy and brought our state to the cutting edge of burgeoning technologies. Our goal is to elevate Wyoming startups so they can go beyond the initial check, and Language I/O is the ideal first investment for this initiative. We are thrilled to support Heather and her team and are confident they’ll continue to grow successfully.”
Shoemaker commented, “Wyoming has a rich history of empowering its local communities, including women leaders. Known as the Equality State, it was the first to grant women the right to vote and is now at the forefront of elevating the tech ecosystem. I am proud to be a part of this program alongside the rest of my team at Language I/O and look forward to working with WYVC to continue paving the way for future generations of female entrepreneurs.”
A massive opportunity
The potential for LIO is huge, Market Research Future estimated that the translation service market would reach US$47.21 billion by 2030, pervasively growing at a 2.6% CAGR during the review period (2022-2030). It attributed the growth to the increasing use of technology. Enabling more and more organisations to adopt cost-effective translation technology in place of experience language experts. It noted that the “increasing implementations of AI-enabled service platforms in media & entertainment would support market growth during the review period.”
This is a conservative view with Research and Markets estimating that global language services market size reached US$67.2 billion in 2022 and will reach US$98.6 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 6.6%. It is, therefore little surprise that LIO has attracted several investors.
Tuomo Vuolteenaho, Managing Member at Joint Effects, said, “Between Language I/O’s track record of innovation and their cutting-edge plans for what’s next, Joint Effects is proud to support a key player in the translation industry. The investment reaffirms our shared commitment to enhancing cross-cultural communication and paving the way for a world where language is no longer a barrier but a bridge to infinite opportunities.
“We believe in the transformative potential of Language I/O to redefine global businesses’ dynamics, ensuring seamless and accurate communication. As we journey together into the future, we look forward to seeing the groundbreaking impacts our investment will foster in breaking language barriers and strengthening global collaboration.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
In some ways the size of the funding round seems, small considering the potential opportunity and the progress that LIO has already made. Customers include Eurostar, Triumph, and BYBIT. The press release states that LIO will use the funds on R&D, it will be interesting to see how it looks to improve its platform. The funding is also only a Series A1, indicating that LIO intends to raise more growth funding in the near future. Will it also invest in sales and marketing to grow the company faster? This is a competitive market and LIO cannot miss the opportunity of being one of the early movers.