Phrase Scores EUR 12M in Debt Financing From CIBC Innovation Banking

Phrase 12m in Venture Debt

CIBC Innovation Banking, a Toronto-based funding arm of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, has extended Prague-headquartered localization SaaS provider Phrase EUR 12m in debt financing, according to a July 19, 2023 press release.

While details of the deal were not disclosed, the press release noted that the funds will go toward developing “the next generation of AI-driven language technology.”

Phrase CEO Georg Ell told Slator that the company was looking “at additional funding to support our rapid growth and our ambitious product roadmap.”

Funds from CIBC will support further development of the Phrase Localization Suite, specifically Phrase Translate, a machine translation (MT) aggregator that draws on more than 30 engines, and a workflow management tool, Phrase Orchestrator. Ell also hinted at an upcoming “major release” in the arena of localization technology. 

“We’ve seen a huge demand for this from our customers, as they look to add more customized workflows and automation to help streamline and expedite the localization process,” Ell added.

Phrase rolled out a new MT engine, Phrase NextMT, in November 2022. And more recently, in April 2023, Super Agency Lionbridge selected Phrase as its third-party provider of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool functionality — an unusual move that speaks to Phrase’s reputation within the language industry.

Founded in 2010, Phrase currently counts more than 300 employees, plus clients in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Prague-headquartered translation management system (TMS) platform Memsource, with its majority shareholder The Carlyle Group, acquired Phrase in January 2021, eventually rebranding the unified company as Phrase in September 2022. 

Memsource Founder and CEO David Čaněk told Slator that acquisition was “always on the table” and “part of the plan right from the beginning when [Memsource] partnered with Carlyle” in July 2020.

Wolfram Grätz, one of Phrase’s three co-founders, described the partnership with Memsource as “the next logical step” for Phrase at the time. All three co-founders stayed on with the business and as minority shareholders in the combined company. 

Carlyle Group Managing Director, Fernando Chueca, will be a panelist at SlatorCon Zurich on October 4, 2023.