Athens-founded Transifex Raises $4M In Series A, Led by Toba Capital

Amid the craziness of Greece right now, at least some startups are still ‘keeping on keeping on’. To that end, localisation software startup Transifex has secured $4 million in Series A funding, led by Toba Capital with participation from seed VC investors NEA, Arafura Ventures and angels including Parse founder and CEO, Ilya Sukhar. The amount raised to date is $6.5 million.

Transifex was born in troubled Greece, but runs a development office in Athens and even plans to double its engineering team there this year. The company’s HQ is now in Silicon Valley.

It’s estimated that for a company to reach 90% of online audiences, a startup today needs to localise its content into 25 languages. Given that 80% of the adult population will own a smartphone within the next five years, and more languages will ‘come online’ plenty of companies will need to localise. According to the Globalization and Localization Association, translation was a $40 billion market in 2014, and it is at growing 8% every year.

Transifex founder Dimitris Glezos previously built software in multiple languages while working as a contributing developer to the Fedora Project, the popular Linux-based operating system. He found that traditional approaches to localization couldn’t keep pace with the release speed. So he wrote the version of Transifex as an Open Source project to support Fedora.

This then gained momentum in the Open Source community and was adopted by projects such as Fedora, Django and Firefox. In order to scale, Transifex commercialised the code for cloud-based SaaS delivery, and also opened its headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

It does all this by storing all target content in a single repository, pushed by APIs or from tools such as the Transifex Client and CMS plugins, and accessible to developers, marketers, translators, and translation agencies. It then provides a workspace for collaboration and interaction among developers, in-house translators, 3rd-party translation agencies, community translators, and machine translation services.

So far it has 400+ customers in over 40 countries, translating content into more than 150 languages. Customers include Atlassian, Coursera, Eventbrite, Kixeye, Orbitz, SoundCloud, Strava, Waze, and Vodafone.

Competition for this is simply Do-It-Yourself or software vendors such as Smartling (NY), CrowdIn (Ukraine), PhraseApp (Germany) and OneSky (Hong Kong). But Transifex’s approach is developer-centric, which means that the digital content and its localised versions are included in the release cycle from the beginning. This makes localisation faster and easier to manage.