Cologne, Germany-based DeepL has announced a substantial funding raise, estimated to be well over $100 million, as it sets its sights on targeting enterprise customers with AI-powered language translation solutions. Language translation has become increasingly vital for businesses operating globally and across diverse demographics.
While basic language translation services like Google Translate have existed for decades, the challenge lies in providing more advanced translation capabilities tailored to business needs. These advanced solutions must not only convey the literal meaning but also capture the appropriate tone and context—a space where AI-powered language translation is beginning to demonstrate its significance.
DeepL, established in 2017, has steadily improved its technology by harnessing deep neural networks. The recent funding round has propelled the company’s valuation to over $1 billion, although the exact amount raised has not been publicly disclosed.
DeepL’s CEO, Jaroslaw “Jarek” Kutylowski, refrained from revealing the precise funding figure but emphasized the clear objectives for utilizing the funds. As the company continues to expand, Kutylowski stated that the funds will be allocated towards advancing fundamental AI research, exploring new product offerings, and broadening its portfolio to cater to enterprise clients.
The early stages of language translation primarily relied on basic pattern matching methods.
For instance, when a user inputted “hello” into a database, it sought an equivalent match in another language, such as French (“bonjour”). However, the fundamental semantic principles of pattern matching proved inadequate for more extensive translation tasks where context and tone played significant roles.
In the realm of advanced AI-driven language translation, numerous providers have been making significant strides. Google, for instance, has been enhancing its Google Translate service with various approaches, including the implementation of a recurrent neural network (RNN).
Microsoft has been actively upgrading its Azure Translator service, incorporating AI models that they claim enhance overall translation quality. Meanwhile, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is not lagging behind and made an announcement in October 2022 about its ambitious project, the AI-powered Universal Speech Translator (UST).
DeepL has pioneered a language translation engine hinging on the utilization of neural networks (NN) to deduce precise translations.
As per the company’s claims, they employ an innovative NN architecture to grasp the subtle nuances of phrases and sentences, enabling them to effectively convey these nuances in a target language.
While the intricate workings of their translation technology remain undisclosed, Kutylowski, a representative of the company, asserted that DeepL consistently pushes the boundaries in the design of neural networks to optimize translation quality.
The original core mission of DeepL was to dismantle language barriers, and Kutylowski stressed that this mission remains at the forefront of the company’s endeavors.
“In the early stages, we perceived this mission as closely intertwined with translation, specifically,” he stated. “As we evolve as a company, we envision harnessing the underlying technology to facilitate human communication in various other ways, introducing new products aimed at enhancing communication.”
DeepL is committed to addressing the myriad challenges that enterprises encounter in the realm of translation. According to Kutylowski, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected each year, the significance of language translation and communication continues to rise. He believes that existing approaches to localization may be insufficiently swift and scalable to meet the growing demand.
Kutylowski further states, “Tools like DeepL empower end users across various teams, be it marketing, legal, or any other, to seamlessly communicate and disseminate content internationally, eliminating the need for external specialized teams or hiring. This, in turn, opens up entirely new possibilities.”
Cars24 is an e-commerce platform for pre-owned vehicles. It recently announced that it has closed a funding round of $450 million, including a $340 million Series F equity round alongside a $110 million debt from diversified financial institutions.
With the latest investment, the company that is headquartered in Gurugram has seen its valuation shoot up to $1.84 billion.
The Series F equity round was led by DST Global, Falcon Edge and Softbank Vision Fund 2. There was also participation from Tencent and other investors like Moore Strategic Ventures and Exor Seeds.
A statement from the company says: “With this latest investment, Cars24 will expand its global presence as well as further build its cars, bikes and financing business in India, while continuing to invest in technology that delivers the best customer experience possible.”
“Traditionally, car selling or buying has been a tiresome process, and only 2 of 100 people own cars in india. However, over the last six years, we have been working continuously toward fulfilling the dreams of many Indians to own car by transforming the customer’s journey- ‘the Cars24 way’ that is hassle-free, safe and transparent. With this investment, we will continue to penetrate into existing car, bikes and financing business in India while venturing into new overseas geographies this year,” said Vikram Chopra, Co-founder & CEO of Cars24.
This latest investment comes just months after Cars24’s expansion into the UAE and Australian markets. The company claimed to have already sold over 1000 cars in the UAE since the launch of its operations in April this year.
The company was foundED in 2015 with the aim of streamlining the buying and selling process of pre-owned cars by leveraging cutting-edge technology. It operates in over 130 cities in India. The company claims to have a 90% market share in the online used car segment, and has clocked more than 13 million monthly traffic and over 4 lakh transactions to date.
Cars24 entered the unicorn club late last year after it raised $200 million in its Series R round at a valuation of over $1 billion. The round was led by DST Global with participation from existing investors including Exor Seeds, Unbound and Moore Strategic Ventures.
Cars24’s competitors include Droom, CarTrade and CarDekho.
One of the worldwide unicorn payment companies in Hong Kong, Airwallex, has reported a $200 million raise in a round of financing underwritten Series E headed by Lone Pine Capital of the United States.
According to the company, the new fundraising round boosted the business’s total funds raised to more than $700 million, bringing its valuation to $4 billion. In its Series D financing round concluded in March, Airwallex raised $300 million.
As new investors, G Squared and Vetamen Capital came together, while the fundraising round was attended by previous investors such as 1835i Ventures, DST Global, Salesforce Venture, and Sequoia Capital China. The company is offering a worldwide Fintech payment platform that enables companies to handle international payments, treasury, and international expenses outside the restrictions of the conventional banking system.
Airwallex employs approximately 1,000 people in 20 worldwide offices and aims to perform hundreds of vacant positions. Furthermore, Airwallex said the additional investment would assist its worldwide growth and improve its product development activities across five engineering hubs.
Airwallex’s co-founder and CEO Zhang also claimed that additional financing would help the firm expand its footprint in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and other new areas like Middle East, South America, and Southeast Asia.
Airwallex also received a money services company license from Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia, in the Series E investment round. From early 2022, the permit will empower the fintech startup to provide Malaysian companies of all sizes with international payment solutions. The new license also signals the debut of Airwallex into Southeast Asia, which is part of the expansion schemes of the firm.
In the first half of 2021, this business records an annual sales increase of 150% and has handled over $20 billion for a four-fold worldwide customer portfolio.
Self-service car wash company Yigongli (YGL), a startup developed by Shanghai HELIOS Network Technology and backed by Alibaba has recently joined China’s latest unicorn status with a value of over $1 billion. The “hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars” worth of transaction is raised across two tranches of Series D1 and Series D2 rounds.
Series D1 round of transaction is called from Sigma Delta Partners Investment, which focuses on prime properties in China’s Tier I cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. Further on, the startup company mentioned that Sigma Delta Partners Investment is expected to help leverage its real estate potentials in order to acquire new locations for YGL’s facilities.
Meanwhile, the Series D2 round was said to be from the investment and advisory services unit of Goldman Sachs’, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The sub-unit of Goldman Sachs will be an anchor in terms of YGL’s global expansion, as well as an attraction for high-end talent.
YGL was established in 2014, Hangzhou as an unmanned 24/7 car wash business that also offers after-sales solutions and products. The new unicorn has now conquered the operations of over 2,500 car wash stations near auto repair shops, gas stations, office buildings, supermarkets, and parking lots across 138 cities in China alone.
It is said that YGL has plans to utilize the financing to boost its automation landscape along with the R&D of self-driving technology. This also adds to the fact that in its latest Series C round of capital financing, the startup has obtained an estimate of $92.8 million across three tranches.
Series C round is from companies including a state-owned insurer People’s Insurance Company of China, private equity fund Centurium Capital, and ClearVue Partners.
A Philippine-based fintech startup, NextPay, has raised 1.6million US dollars in a recent seed funding co-led by Golden Gate Ventures and Gentree Fund, a venture vehicle of the Sy family, the family behind SM Group in the Philippines.
Some of the other investors that joined the round include Broadhaven Ventures, Saison Capital, Razorpay, Tribe Capital, and Chinmay Chauhan of BukuWarung.
Lisa Gokongwei, a private investor from JG Summit and Goodwater Capital, a customer tech investor who had previously invested in Twitter, Facebook, and Spotify, invested in this round of funding alongside local venture capitals such as Kickstart Ventures (Ayala Group), and Foxmont Capital.
According to NextPay, part of the 1.6millions USD will be invested in expanding their range of services, growing customer base, and developing and optimizing new digital banking solutions to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
CEO and co-founder of the digital financial solution platform, Don Pansacola, shared that they have a firm belief in the ever-evolving and continuous digital changes in business banking as the Philippines accelerates its digital transformation initiatives.
He added, “This investment supports our goal of putting the power of big banks in the hands of small businesses,”
The success of the seed funding helped speed up their plan to introduce meaningful digital banking solutions, such as corporate cards, loans, and platform integrations for MSMEs.
The fintech startup was launched in 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic as a digital platform that allows customers to democratize access to affordable financial services in the Philippines.
User does not have to pay for any set-up fees or excessive requirements to make payment via this pay-per-use platform. Companies can run many functions here, such as managing cash flow, collecting payments from customers via invoices, and paying their employees, bills, or suppliers to any bank or through an e-wallet.
NextPay has processed more than 9.1 million US dollars since launch, and Golden Gate Ventures Partner Justin Hall complimented, “NextPay is building industry-leading digital banking solutions for SMEs to manage better their finances: from payroll to collections, to invoicing.”