This NYC Startup Was Just Acquired to Destroy This Barrier



In the well-connected world we live in, there are still a few barriers holding us back from true global connectedness. One of these barriers, the language barrier, holds back expansion and cooperation with other markets that would otherwise be closer partners. While this may sound hard to overcome, we have taken one step closer to this ideal cooperation we all strive for thanks to a recent acquisition. VerbalizeIt, the technology platform that provides translating services aimed at international business expansion has been acquired by the content transformation company Smartling.

Today we chat with Ryan Frankel, VerbalizeIt’s former CEO who has transitioned to Smartling’s as the Senior Director, Channels & Alliances about the vast implications on this acquisition.

Tell us about your service.

VerbalizeIt is a technology platform that helps businesses translate their content in order to facilitate international expansion. Our technology platform connects businesses in need of language translation solutions with a vetted community of thousands of translators around the world. And our technology enables us to support content translation across multiple mediums of communication, including text and documents, websites, mobile applications, and audio and video.

By joining forces with Smartling, we’ve created the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise translation management platform that meets the needs of companies of all sizes. From small translation projects to large-scale international expansions, Smartling enables brands to localize global content across all channels within one easy-to-use system. As a result, companies can access new markets, reach more customers and provide greater value faster than ever before.

What was the acquisition process like?

The acquisition exploration was akin to the dating process. I first connected with Smartling’s CEO, Jack Welde, several years back. We’re both alumni of The University of Pennsylvania, working in the same industry and operating out of the New York City ecosystem. In the months and years that followed, I developed tremendous respect for Jack, his company vision and his overall traction at Smartling, and it became clear that we could elevate our trajectories far faster by working together than doing so in isolation.

What factors about your business led Smartling to consider the acquisition?

VerbalizeIt’s technology, people and partners perfectly complement Smartling’s business. Acquiring VerbalizeIt enabled Smartling to augment its enterprise translation management platform with multimedia translation capabilities.

Additionally, with the acquisition, two groups of seasoned entrepreneurs are joining forces to take the language services industry by storm. Our cultures are very compatible as well, so this partnership just made a lot of sense. Most people at VerbalizeIt will continue on at Smartling, as will the translation partners and customers engaged with VerbalizeIt.

What factors about Smartling influenced your decision to be acquired?

Smartling is a world-class technology company. We believe technology should enable human-to-human connections, not impede or replace them, and Smartling enables companies to deliver personalized content and native brand experiences that successfully engage local customers and prospects. VerbalizeIt’s technology extends this value proposition to additional multimedia channels. Delivering content that resonates in every language, all cultures and any market enables brands to achieve a more competitive global position. This acquisition is a win for existing Smartling and VerbalizeIt customers, as well as for those businesses with language translation initiatives on the horizon.

What are your plans going forward?

Both Cofounders at VerbalizeIt, myself and Kunal Sarda, have taken positions at Smartling, as did most of VerbalizeIt’s employees. I am responsible for developing channel and partnership alliances, while Kunal is focusing on the product experience for customers and translators.

We’re looking forward to working with Smartling to further develop the most comprehensive end-to-end enterprise translation management platform and to help companies better connect with people all over the world.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that are building their businesses?

The concentration of industry and talent in New York makes for a special place for growing one’s business. Entrepreneurs can and should take advantage of their proximity to world-class leaders in order to enhance their chances for success. We oftentimes become accustomed to spending an entire day behind our computers or in internal meetings, and it’s important to step outside of the office to connect in-person with the great entrepreneurs residing in New York. I’ve long believed that the best things in life come from face-to-face interactions, and this transaction exemplifies the importance of developing meaningful relationships.

About the author: AlleyWatch

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