Investors are attracted to B2B SaaS companies because the subscription business model is predictable — and “Covid has only reinforced this appetite,” according to a recently appointed CFO, who joined the language industry after 15 years at Ernst and Young.
Another thing driven home by Covid: the importance of building strong relationships with clients, according to the Senior Marketing Director at a translation management system (TMS) provider.
This view is shared by the new VP at a company specializing in language services for regulated industries. He said that, even as they use technology, they make sure they do not “automate away” relationships with linguists and clients.
Meanwhile, the opportunity to foster working relationships with “highly talented people” was one factor that motivated a new Chief Sales Officer to change industries and join a France-based language service provider (LSP).
And, joining the language industry some time ago after years in the nuclear energy sector, a Localization Engineering Head said he was inspired by his mother who was a translator back in the days of the Iron Curtain.
Alastair Jamieson – XTM
On June 14, 2021, Alastair Jamieson took up the role of Chief Financial Officer at XTM International. He reports to CEO Bob Willans. TMS provider XTM is headquartered in Gerrards Cross in south Buckinghamshire, England, and Jamieson is based in London.
He told Slator, “I advised XTM on the recent growth equity investment from K1 Capital — and was so impressed that I decided to join the team!”
Jamieson added, “I plan to put the platform in place for accelerated growth to ensure XTM invests most effectively to drive that growth and is ready for the scale-up challenges that come with rapid global expansion.”
Jamieson previously worked at Ernst and Young for more than 15 years, most recently as Partner, where he advised leading global tech investors on M&A transactions. He said this gave him “a great lens on what drives success in the software sector.”
On what attracts investors to businesses post-Covid, the CFO had this to say: “Over the past decade, investors have swarmed to B2B SaaS businesses, drawn by the predictability of the subscription business model and the growth potential as cloud technology disrupts every market. Covid has only reinforced this appetite as SaaS businesses have thrived through challenging times.”
As for which business trends have caught his eye of late, he said it is that enterprises are willing to take fewer risks with multilingual content: “They will seek closer control and want to manage their own translation assets — all of which demands enterprise-class TMS technology.”
According to Jamieson, this has to do with delivering a consistent brand message even as companies engage with customers in their native language. He pointed out, “Maintaining a consistent brand voice across languages and markets is no longer an optional extra for enterprise clients. It is crucial to their success.”
Billy Burnet – XTM
Billy Burnet joined XTM International on April 26, 2021 as Senior Director of Marketing. He reports to CEO Bob Willans. Although UK-based, XTM has offices around the world including the US, Japan, Poland, Ireland, and Argentina. Burnet works remotely out of Raleigh, North Carolina.
As Senior Director of Marketing, he leads the marketing team and is, “ultimately, responsible for elevating the XTM brand and generating business opportunities.”
He views the job of XTM International as helping organizations “speak to the world more easily, effectively, and efficiently by automating manual repetitive tasks along the content supply chain.”
Prior to joining the TMS provider, Burnet was Senior Director of Global Demand Generation at insightsoftware, the software supplier of the Office of the CFO in DC (i.e., financial advisor to the US government).
Burnet is of the belief that “success stems from strong partnerships. Partnering with industry leaders helps companies invest in AI and enhance operational efficiency, which ultimately benefits the user.”
He added, “We all know the world has changed tremendously as a result of the pandemic. Ultimately, this period of time has shown it is even more important to build strong relationships with your clients and prospects.”
Cedric Vandervynckt – Acolad
Cedric Vandervynckt stepped into his role as Chief Sales Officer at Acolad Group on February 1, 2021. He reports to CEO Olivier Marcheteau.
Working out of the LSP’s headquarters in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, a few minutes from Paris, Vandervynckt said, “In the future, I will travel frequently to our 41 offices.”
Vandervynckt’s team primarily comprises Business Development Managers and Account Managers, “organized by vertical to provide industry-specific knowledge.”
Asked to describe the Acolad business in a nutshell, he said, “We provide our clients with a suite of content localization services — from translation and interpreting services to bespoke content management platforms and digital marketing services.”
Prior to Acolad, Vandervynckt was General Manager of the Web Marketing Division at Criteo, a Nasdaq-listed digital advertising company, where he was in charge of product development, sales commercialization, and ops. Before that, he spent 20 years in the ad tech industry and held commercial leadership roles at companies such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google.
According to Vandervynckt, his decision to change industries and join Acolad was motivated by several factors, including “the highly talented people I met during the interview process who all shared their vision and passion for this industry; and the significant opportunity that a USD 50bn market, currently being reshaped by a disruptive technological transformation, can offer.”
Nicolas Prenat – Acolad
Nicolas Prenat has been Chief Revenue Officer at Acolad Group since September 7, 2020. He reports to CEO Olivier Marcheteau and works out of the Acolad head office in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.
Prenat is responsible for “revenue generation, performance, and effectiveness” and manages Marketing, Presales, Solutions, Revenue Operations, as well as Sales Excellence and Enablement functions. He is also in charge of Digital Marketing Solutions.
“My job is to enable frontline sales teams to grow our top line with these different levers [of the business and] offer clients a range of solutions for managing their content,” Prenat said.
Like Vandervynckt, Prenat’s immediate past company is Criteo, a USD 2bn-revenue company in the ad tech space, where he led Global Sales Operations. In that role, Prenat implemented the go-to-market strategy for sales, and also oversaw business planning, incentive management, and sales effectiveness at the group level.
Recalling his move to Acolad late last year, Prenat said, “Changing jobs during the pandemic was quite an experience. I was first attracted to the language services industry because of its fast-paced transformation. The deep technological changes and M&A activity in the sector captured my attention.”
Michael Stypa – Divergent
Michael Stypa joined Divergent Language Solutions as VP and Global Head of Client Relations on April 5, 2021. He reports to CEO Brandon Carney.
Divergent is based in San Francisco, California and has offices in New York City as well as London, where Stypa is based. He is in charge of “crafting and implementing the company’s global sales strategy, strengthening and expanding existing relationships, and creating new business in EMEA and North America.”
Divergent’s Client Services Representatives report to him and Stypa is also “involved in the greater business strategy, hiring, finances, and much more.”
Divergent specializes in legal, financial, and technical language services for regulated industries. Stypa told Slator, “Divergent values organic growth and has realized this through providing our clients a consistently high level of personalized service and extreme responsiveness. We use technology to our advantage while, at the same time, ensuring we do not automate away our relationships with our linguists or clients.”
Before joining the company, Stypa spent six years at RWS in various sales management and business development roles; his last one being Global Sales Manager for RWS Group.
It was during his time at Geotext Translations (now Lionbridge Legal) that Stypa first “worked very closely” with Divergent CEO Brandon Carney, from 2004 to 2011. “We developed a strong relationship as we simultaneously relocated away from New York City to open up offices for Geotext, with Brandon going to San Francisco and my mandate being in London.”
Stypa added, “We have always stayed in touch and even tried partnering up shortly after Divergent opened its doors back in 2012. The stars finally aligned and given our history, synergies, and shared working methodology, I had the opportunity to join Divergent.”
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Pavel Vatin – LanguageWire
Pavel Vatin was promoted to Head of Localization Engineering at LanguageWire on January 1, 2021. He reports to Signe Winther Poulsen, VP of Operation Excellence. LanguageWire HQ is in Copenhagen, Denmark and Vatin heads three teams of engineers located in Munich, Valencia, and Kyiv.
His remit includes overseeing the pre- and post-processing of different file formats based on client requirements, as well as managing all internal routine processes around tech docs, project managers, and internal and external training and technical meetings.
According to Vatin, LanguageWire “follows modern marketing tendencies,” allowing clients to use an integrated online translation system, API, and machine translation to localize their content in any format.
Vatin joined the language industry via the nuclear energy sector. He once occupied different positions within the field — from mechanical engineering to nuclear safety assessment and quality assurance. His work revolved around verifying that deliveries were in compliance with codes and standards, and overseeing the localization of tech docs and their compliance with the requirements of regulatory bodies.
Vatin said, “Maybe it sounds strange, but since childhood I dreamed of working in the localization industry. Most likely it was because my mom was a translator. Despite the ‘iron curtain’ between the Soviet Union and other countries, she traveled a lot across the world and I really liked her lifestyle.”
He added, “I was also interested in the hard sciences and, despite the desire to become a linguist, I entered the local technical university after school. Finally, I made my dream come true. I’m now fully working for the localization industry, combining the tech and linguistic skills gained during my previous employment.”