Machine translation (MT) and media localization startup XL8 announced in September 2023 that it has raised USD 7.5m in a series A funding round. This brings the total funds raised by XL8 to USD 11.5m.
The round closed in May — shortly before the Silicon Valley-based company acquired transcription and translation provider AHT — but was not made public until later. XL8’s CEO, Tim Jung (who appeared on SlatorPod in mid-2022) told Slator the round valued XL8 at around USD 60m.
XL8 offers two core products: MediaCAT, which streamlines media localization into a three-step workflow involving speech recognition, translation, and dubbing; and EventCAT, a remote simultaneous interpreting (RSI) solution that offers speech translation for real-time events.
The lead investor in XL8’s series A is Korean investment firm KB Investment. Jung said XL8’s “distinctive and proprietary AI technologies” were what piqued KB’s interest. According to him, “KB believes that XL8’s combined leveraging of Generative AI along with our proprietary AI will help usher in a new era of innovation and synergy in the localization industry.”
Jung also said XL8 will use the new funds to “enhance XL8’s product offerings and further develop the core platform business, including leveraging generative AI capabilities.” In addition, XL8 plans to expand globally in Europe and the Middle East while also growing its presence throughout the Americas. The company already ventured into the UK, Turkey, and the UAE recently.
From Film Studios to Call Centers
Asked about promising sectors for XL8, Jung observed that the company’s target customers span the entire localization industry. For example, “major film studios and their professional language service providers, as well as those translating live global shows, sports, and events, all the way down to individual independent filmmakers.”
XL8 also plans to bring its localization solutions to live broadcasts, e-commerce, call centers, and live events and conferences in the next couple of years, he shared. The start-up already expanded into Government via its acquisition of AHT, which focuses on court hearings, depositions, and law enforcement interrogations.
Asked for an update on how the integration between the two companies is going, Jung said “We have successfully integrated our AI tools into AHT, and have very quickly realized efficiency gains over 40%, virtually eliminating AHT’s previously ongoing backlog of work.”
Commenting on current trading, Jung told Slator that “interest in XL8 this year has been off the charts” but declined to share revenue projections for 2023. He added, “2023 has brought a realization that AI has to be integrated into the modern localization workflow.”