On June 15, 2020, US-based company Localised announced that it had raised USD 6.5m in a Series A investment. Localised builds and deploys custom local websites that help brands expand beyond their home markets by building and optimizing websites for selling internationally.
The company was founded in New York in 2016 by Kris Green, Peter Jones, and Michelle Lim. Localised CEO Green comes from a B2C e-commerce background and spent 15 years working at cross-border trade platform Borderfree, which focused on enabling US and UK brands to do business internationally. Lim is a former eBay exec and serves as Localised’s CMO. British entrepreneur Jones, who is Executive Chairman, will be familiar to some because of his appearances on the TV shows Dragon’s Den (UK) and American Inventor (US).
The investors in Localised’s Series A round were Jones and UK-based growth fund BGF. BGF was launched in 2011 and has invested over GBP 2.2bn in UK- and Ireland-based companies across a wide range of industries. Recent investments include tech provider AND Digital, security business Action24, and recipe box company Gousto.
Valuation was not disclosed. Localised plans to use the funds to continue its growth trajectory.
Slator contacted CEO and Co-founder Green, who said that Localised has seen 500% year-on-year revenue growth and now employs 40 people across offices in New York, London, Canada, Poland, Romania, and Hong Kong.
Their teams include marketing, branding, and e-commerce professionals who oversee activities such as translation, customer care, and merchandising strategy for Localised customers. The company owns the domains “localised.com” and “localized.com.”
Green told Slator that Localised is able to build and deploy local websites in a matter of weeks. Brands that may have seen a small amount of interest in their products from abroad can turn to Localised for ready-made and local-feeling websites designed to help them access new markets and potential customers.
As a full-service e-commerce provider, it is not so much that Localised does more than localization, but rather that localization includes more than the language-component.
“We will test to see when or how we would incorporate machine translation to help augment our language localisation capabilities.”
In Green’s view, localization involves making all aspects of the e-commerce experience local — from merchandising, marketing, and artwork to currencies, pricing, and payment options. “We approach localisation from the perspective of the international shopper,” he explained.
Localised currently engages third parties for translation work while quality assurance is carried out in-house; although Green said that the outsourcing model “will be something we continually evaluate as we grow as a business and based on the specific language pairs we orchestrate the most translation for.”
Looking toward future business growth, Green said that Localised’s ability to manage translation at scale will be an important factor for their customers. Their tech stack includes a CMS and what Green refers to as an “AI-driven localization engine,” which allows translation memory (TM) cost savings to be passed on to customers.
Green also told Slator that they are “always evaluating advances in machine translation and will test to see when or how we would incorporate machine translation to help augment our language localisation capabilities.”
“We have become the primary sales channel for some of our clients in some markets while stores have been closed”
Localised has a current focus on helping fashion and lifestyle brands expand into Asia. According to Green, they are planning on “adding support for new countries across Europe, Middle East, North America and South America” with the overall aim of supporting all of the top 20 e-commerce markets. They also have ambitions to expand sectorially, for example into consumer electronics or health and beauty, and to support “different origin markets.”
Asked how the coronavirus pandemic was affecting the business, Green said that they have not made any particular adjustments but are providing continuity to their customers who may have been hit by shutdowns: “We have become the primary sales channel for some of our clients in some markets while stores have been closed,” he said.