US tie translates into big opportunity for Lingo24

Christian Arno, chief executive of Lingo24. Picture: Jane Barlow/TSPL
Christian Arno, chief executive of Lingo24. Picture: Jane Barlow/TSPL
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Web translation company Lingo24 has signed a deal with a company in New York which will extend its use by global brands and boost its US fund-raising efforts.

The Edinburgh-based firm has established a partnership with US-based translation management company Smartling in which each will use the other’s technology.

Smartling, which specialises in stripping content from websites and smartphone apps for the purposes of translating it, serves major global technology clients including location game Foursquare, social media site Pinterest and music streaming firm, Spotify.

Christian Arno, Lingo24’s founder and chief executive, said both firms approach translation – particularly for websites using several languages – in a complementary way.

He said: “This will help Lingo24 bring our high-quality translations and specialist customer service to a much wider audience in the US.”

Arno is expected to head to California’s Silicon Valley in the autumn in Lingo24’s first major push to raise millions of dollars for the firm and a foothold with some of its biggest social media brands will be useful.

Smartling has also been tipped as a potentially significant growth company, having
already raised $14 million (£9.2m) from investors.

Lingo24 expects to use the funds raised to develop its translation technology platform Coach, which Arno has described as the “eBay for translation” because of its ability to allow customers to access a range of translation services through a digital marketplace.

Lingo24 is part of a growing trend for Scottish tech firms looking to the US for funding. Firms that have successfully
appealed to American technology investors for funds include fantasy sports game firm FanDuel, which recently raised $11m from media giant Comcast.

Arno said that the company, which he established 11 years ago in Aberdeen, had yet to tap investors for support, although he has expanded the company to have operations in five countries so far without backing. He said his decision to focus on the US investment community was because of a perception that “US start-ups are achieving much better valuations”.

He said of his Scottish peers such as Skyscanner and FanDuel: “Those guys have been raising money all their business lives – I’ve never done it.

“It will be a change for me. Everyone is quite keen we find the right cultural fit and that there is not wholesale change.

“I am the novice when it comes to fundraising but when it comes to the international business I have done more of that than anyone else.”