Ryan Frankel and Kunal Sarda met at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and developed their translation app, VerbalizeIt, the world’s only instant, 24-7 “human-powered” translation service. A user has access to a network of thousands of freelance translators around the world, paying for a phone call or audio/video contact per minute and for documents by the word. They realized the value of human translators over algorithm-based translations for subtleties such as dialect, accents and regional slang. Kevin invested in the app, but Ryan and Kunal called him before the show aired to tell him they did not want the deal, which led some to think they had never wanted a deal, only the national exposure.
Within three days of the show airing, 20,000 new customers downloaded the app. But the most important exposure they received was being seen by an acquaintance from the Wharton School. Jack Welde, CEO of Smartling, was watching the show and recognized Ryan right away and contacted him. Smartling is a successful cloud-based translation technology and language services company that translates more than 150 languages across more than 50 specialized industries.
Smartling acquired VerbalizeIt, and Ryan and Kunal are in leadership positions at Smartling.