Female-Founded Customer Translation Service Language I/O Raises $5 Million

By Jemima McEvoy Thursday, April 1, 2021

Language I/O has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round, the company announced Tuesday. This is a significant cash injection for the Massachusetts-based AI language startup company, which sells software that allows companies to automate the process of translating customer support. Already profitable and flushed by the potential of a fragmented multibillion-dollar market, Language I/O looks to sit in a good position within the industry.

Person using a chatbot on a smartphone.

What Is Language I/O?

Language I/O was founded in 2015 by Heather Morgan Shoemaker, now the CEO of the company, and Kaarina Kvaavik, chief business officer. Both women have extensive experience in business and decided to launch the company to remedy a gap they recognized in the customer service market. The AI startup combines human and machine translation to automate the translation of support content like chats, emails, and FAQs. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) enables the business to be quick and accurate, translating into over 100 languages instantaneously.

Though just a few years old, the business has formed connections with Fortune 500 companies and other global customers. The software made by Language I/O also has the benefit of easily integrating into three of the largest customer relationship management systems (CRMs): Salesforce Service Cloud, Oracle Service Cloud, and Zendesk. With big-name clients such as photo stock provider Shutterstock, photo printing company PhotoBox, and secure browser business Brave, Language I/O is also already profitable.

Money and Investing

The AI language startup went without funding for a few years before raising $500,000 in a 2019 seed round, necessary because of mounting competition in the state. That round of fundraising for the company was led by Wyoming-based venture capital firm Breakthrough 307.

The AI startup closed its Series A round this month, which was co-led by Massachusetts-based firms PBJ Capital and Gutbrain Ventures. Omega Venture Partners also participated in the funding along with several angel investors like Michael Wilens, Tom Axbey, and Eric Schnadig.
“We are thrilled to be one of the rare technology companies founded and led by women to receive venture capital funding,” Kvaavik said in the company announcement of the round.

Future Plans

The AI language startup company said it plans to use the money to expand the sales and development teams “so we can build out our conversational AI translation tech to meet our customers needs.” Language I/O has already established itself well in the market and is aiming to keep up the momentum of its business. However, the AI startup is not the only customer service company competing in the market. Main competitors of the business include Lingoport, All Languages, Net-Translators, and iTrader. Many big companies, including Google and Amazon, are also in the translation space, posing a potential threat with their immense resources.

The founders appear confident about the future, though, with Kvaavik painting the future of the business as straightforward. “This infusion of capital will enable us to provide immediate value to a greater number of organizations by making sure they are communicating accurately with customers,” Kvaavik said. “Higher customer satisfaction translates to increased revenue — yes it’s that simple.”

About the Author


Headshot of Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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