Make It Ten is the attempt to give the fantastic founders and/or CEOs of our portfolio companies the possibility to present their “babies” to a bigger audience and at the same time share a little bit of their knowledge and experiences they have had along their entrepreneurial journey so far. The format is simple: a short interview, asking 9 questions. Question number 10 is reserved for the interviewee. He/she can use this question to ask us whatever he/she has always wanted to ask us. Thus, the feature’s name Make It Ten. If you like this format and the content, please let us know by clapping and sharing and we will make a series out of it.
For the first interview we sat down with Christopher Kränzler, founder and CEO of lengoo. Enjoy reading.
- Christopher, please introduce lengoo in less than 10 words.
lengoo is the future of translation.
- What was the initial impetus or motivation to start lengoo and what is your vision with it?
During my studies, I worked as a localization manager for one of the major IT consultancies. I experienced first-hand how much repetitive project management work is involved in finding and managing highly qualified translators. From then my motivation was to make ordering translations for companies as easy as a click of a button. So, I started automating the processes revolving around translation projects one after another using machine learning. Our vision is to create an interface that unites the human creativity of expert translators with the technical precision of AI.
- What company-related recent accomplishment are you most proud of?
Proving that with dedication, hard work and a very clear focus, we can beat the technologies of American tech giants.
- Five years from now, what will lengoo look like? What will you be doing yourself?
With our technology being ready and the first enterprise customers using our machine translation service, the next months and years are all about building on our market position in DACH and expanding into other countries. 5 years from now, we will be operating in our 20 target locales and belong to the Top 15 translation service providers in the world.
- Name three adjectives that describe the working culture at lengoo.
Fun, challenging, fast-paced, innovative, exciting — That’s five. But since language is our product, we think it’s ok to pick more than three adjectives here. We are currently hiring across all departments by the way. Check here for more details.
- Name a detail that nobody really talks about but that is nonetheless crucial for the success of a company.
We are a bootstrapped company, so when we started 4 years ago, we were literally managing translation projects in Excel. We were far from being a real company, let alone a sexy one, but I strongly believe that the first years of doing business were imperative to really understanding how the market works and to identify the best strategy to secure a major part of it. The relationships we established with over 3,000 business customers are the basis for developing a deep-tech product that is not only technologically groundbreaking, but solves a real problem and will disrupt an entire industry.
- Which technological solution are we still missing in our lives?
I am on the road a lot and spend a fair share of time travelling from A to B. I absolutely despise commuting and every business travel again I am shocked at how much time is lost in the process, so this is an easy one for me: Beaming!
- What other than lengoo is worth spending time on?
Spending time reading about new innovations from pioneers in the world of AI. I attend many meetups and events and love hearing different opinions and perspectives. A free exchange of thoughts — that’s what it’s all about. Making true connections.
- Why did you choose Creathor as an investor?
Creathor was one of the first VCs we engaged with — way before we started fundraising for our Seed round. We were looking for a partner that would be able to sustain our vision of making machine translations applicable in professional use cases. Thus, we wanted to partner with a team that understands deep-tech product development processes. Creathor has a successful track record of more than 30 years of backing disruptive technologies from semi-conductors to the early internet infrastructure to Software-as-a-Service applications. To us that was a match. And it still is today.
- Make it 10! There must be something that you have always wanted to ask us. What is it?
Christopher: Having seen hundreds of companies over the several funds you managed, is there a common trait you have seen in founders that would make you invest immediately or back off from the deal?
Cédric Köhler: Self-confidence, humbleness, openness for advice, curiosity: These are very important character traits that play a major role for us when discussing investment opportunities internally. A good founder has all of these. But at the same time, if one of these traits is much more pronounced than the others, we usually pass as well.
Also, low response rates mostly result in a pass.
Thank you, Christopher!