Qordoba, the multinational online localization company headquartered in Dubai, has announced a $1.5 million USD Series A fundraising round to invest in product development. Launched in 2012, Qordoba provides high-end localization for organizations like Google, LinkedIn, HSBC, and the United Nations, and currently works with many Fortune 500 companies on projects across 20+ languages.
Further, PR agencies, governments, and law firms use Qordoba’s project management software and API to manage large-scale translation projects. This new round of investment, from Silicon Oasis Investments and MENA Venture Investments (founded by Wamda chairman Fadi Ghandour), will be used to build out an automatic website translation platform, as well as further developing functionality for Qordoba’s APIs and project management software, says co-founder and CEO May Habib.
Localization includes translation and other “language software and service solutions, including content development and website, social media, application and business document” adaption to be relevant to new local markets. “Localization is a $35 billion USD market still not penetrated in a real way by online and tech-focused companies. Our positioning in the online localization landscape is quite unique and this investment will allow us to scale our offering,” says Habib.
Over a Skype call, Habib reflected on the challenges her company has faced with scaling both regionally and internationally this past year (Qordoba currently has headquarters in Dubai and Frankfurt, and operates regional offices in Cairo, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh). “The biggest lesson” of this past year, she says, was that “if you’re not constantly scrolling through LinkedIn and interviewing, boring as it may be, a crunch time will come when you need people and no one is ready.”
Looking to 2014, Habib will try to wean her largest customers from Qordoba’s “great project managers,” encouraging them to begin using the “self-service aspects of our software.”
“Our challenge,” she says, “is to get that [DIY] culture embedded within the userbase.”
[Disclosure: Wamda Capital has invested in Qordoba]