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Venture Capital Loves Language Translation Companies

November 12, 2009


There is a famous scene in the classic movie The Graduate where a family friend, tells young Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) that the secret to future economic success is plastics. If The Graduate were to be remade today, the secret to future economic success might well involve language translation.

Venture capital, private equity and the public market can’t resist companies involved in language translation and education. EnglishCentral received millions from Google Ventures and Atlas Venture . Carnegie Speech received $2.2 million from In-Q-Tel , a venture fund associated with the Central Intelligence Agency. Carnegie Speech is affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University and its software is based on intellectual property licensed from Carnegie Mellon. Osage Partners also invested $6 million in Carnegie Speech.

Other language translation companies raising capital include: Lingotek – $4.9 million from In-Q-Tel, Canopy Ventures and Flywheel Ventures ; Wimba – $3 million in June, 2009 plus $15 million over the past few years from Tudor Ventures , Ascend Venture Group and ABS Ventures ; Lattice Voice Technologies – $64 million in September 2009 from Yorkshire Fund Managers ; eduFire – $1.3 million in September, 2009 from Battery Ventures and Western Technology Investment ; WhiteSmoke – $6 million from Kreos Capital , Earlybird Venture Capital and Evolution Fund ; Early Stage Alternative Fund paid $10 million to acquire a 51% equity interest in PROMPT ; Language Weaver received over $4 million from Palisades Ventures , Tech Coast Angels and the Athenaeum Fund ; and Rosetta Stone raised $112.5 million in an April 2009 public offering.

These companies and many others are attracting hundreds of millions in funding during a global economic recession because investors think they will capitalize on a multitrillion dollar global market.

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