Photo: Interactio founders Simona Andrijauskaite and Henrikas Urbonas.
, a live translation platform used by the United Nations and the European Parliament, has raised a $31m Series A round — the largest ever Series A for a company headquartered in the Baltics.
The company, based in Lithuania, secured the funding from Eight Roads Ventures
, Storm Ventures
, Practica Capital
, Change Ventures
and Notion Capital
; as well as angel investor Jaan Tallinn
, the cofounder of Skype, and Young Sohn
— the ex-chief strategy officer of Samsung, and many more.
“We were behind in the global startup ecosystems overall,” says founder Henrikas Urbonas
. “When we started Interactio, there was very limited capital available, and close to no angel ecosystem to help the initial startups.”
That’s changed, he says: there are more funds and they’re becoming more international, bringing in expertise from abroad, and there’s also a more thriving angel investment ecosystem in each of the Baltic states.
“We should expect more rounds like this to come from the Baltics, we have a much stronger ecosystem than ever before.”How it works?
Interactio provides a platform where participants join online and select which language they want to follow a meeting in. The system still uses interpreters but it directs all the content to each user in the language they select.
“If you want to join a meeting in English, you’d hear the English translators unless a speaker switched to talking directly in English, then you’d hear them,” explains Urbonas, who previously worked in a shipyard, where workers spoke different languages to each other. “The aim is for everyone to be able to participate in the meeting in their preferred language.”
Large meetings such as those at the UN or the European Parliament can use up to 24 languages at once, he says, and, because of the cognitive strain of live translation, up to three interpreters can be assigned to each language.
- Read the investment news HERE
Cover photo: Etienne Boulanger/Unsplash
- Change Ventures’ blog post on the investment - HERE