On April 7, 2022, Lilt announced that it had raised USD 55m in a series C funding round. The round comes two years after Lilt’s series B, which saw the company raise USD 25m in early 2020. This latest round brings the total funds raised to USD 92.5m.
The series C was led by Four Rivers, with new investors Sorenson Capital, Clear Ventures, and Wipro Ventures participating. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and XSeed Capital also joined the round.
Lilt CEO, Spence Green, declined to share valuation or revenue metrics but told Slator that the company now has more than 150 employees across the US, EMEA, and Asia.
Since securing series B funding in May 2020, the tech-enabled language service provider (LSP) has picked up a wide variety of new enterprise and startup customers — representing industries ranging from education to crypto — including Accelerate Learning, Orca Security, and Juniper Networks.
About high-growth sectors, Green said, “We are seeing growth across the board but have noticed unique applications in education, crypto, technology, and defense and intelligence.”
The Lilt CEO shared key technology roadmap highlights with SlatorPod in April 2021, including the company’s connector-first approach and planned enhancements to the review cycle. Since then, Lilt has added a number of supporting products and services including its suite of TMS Connectors, Multilingual Asset Management, and Instant Translate.
Asked about Lilt’s current tech roadmap, Green told Slator that the LSP is working on significant updates to its MT system to support high volume use cases, having developed more than 100 neural machine translation models since May 2020. He explained: “These features support our customers who are transitioning to fully automatic workflows” — an indication that Lilt is more aggressively moving into the pure-MT space.
The highlight, however, is future advancement in connectors. According to Green, “We’re most excited about the new GX connectors, which empower enterprise creators directly in their systems of record.”
Lilt recently expanded its business focus to encompass what it calls the “global experience” (i.e., “a new way of creating and deploying multilingual experiences across the customer journey”). As Green explained it, localization has a strategic function: “You need to think about the experience of the customer –– all the different components and touchpoints where you interact with the business, such as when users go to a website, use an app, or call in to support. Language should be thought about as a competency of customer experience.”
On the current hype surrounding large language models (LLMs), such as GPT-3 and Google’s Pathways Language Model, Green said that Lilt was excited to explore this direction as well. “There are promising new architectures that use LLMs on the encoder side,” he said.
Lilt’s latest round follows a record year of language industry funding and M&A; which indicates that the AI-enabled, LSP model continues to appeal to investors.