Riga-based translation startup Lokalise raises €5 million to hire top talent, and goes fully remote

Today Lokalise, the Latvian translation software startup, has announced closing an approx. €5 million Series A funding round, one of the largest ever first-time investments for a Latvian-founded startup. Previously bootstrapped, the team decided to raise external capital to hire top SaaS talent globally in order to accelerate its growth, as the company goes fully-remote.

The round is led by one of Europe’s most experienced VCs, Mike Chalfen, with participation from capital300 and a number of high-profile angel investors, including Andrey Khusid (Founder and CEO of Miro) and his angel fund S16, Nicolas Dessaigne (co-founder of Algolia), Des Traynor (co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Intercom), Matt Robinson(CEO of Nested), Rich Waldron, Ali Russell, and Dom Lewis (the founders of Tray), Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas (COO of GoCardless), Eugene Katz (ex-CS lead of Atlassian), Stephane Kurgan (the former COO of King.com) and Charlie Songhurst.

Founded in 2017 in Riga, Latvia by tech entrepreneurs Petr Antropov and Nick Ustinov, the product-led SaaS business has since attracted over 1,500 customers in 80 countries, from early-stage businesses, to scaleups, to Fortune500 companies, including Revolut, Yelp, Virgin Mobile, and Notion.

The product is a platform to manage localization (the process of adapting and translating content to local markets) for software, apps, websites, and other digital assets. While most translation and localization processes are performed manually using cumbersome excel files, Lokalise pushes content directly to the software. Its automated and streamlined flow allows engineers, managers, translators, and designers to seamlessly work together on multi-market products from prototype to production.

Having bootstrapped to a meaningful scale, it became clear to the founders that Lokalise could grow even faster. At the same time, having consciously experimented with remote work from Q4 in 2019, the team switched to a fully-remote operation in March 2020, opening the opportunity to recruit talent anywhere in the world. Given these two factors, Nick and Petr decided to raise a Series A capital round to recruit the best SaaS talent globally.

Nick Ustinov, CEO and co-founder said: “Initially we were just a handful of coders building a product for a pain that we ourselves were experiencing. When top-tier customers started knocking on our doors we saw the larger opportunity at play. We quickly realized that the greatest challenge to scale Lokalise is in attracting the best go-to-market talent. Having met good VCs in both Europe and the US, we are happy that we picked Mike Chalfen as our partner to realize our vision.” 

Lead investor Mike Chalfen observed: “Every business has an online presence, yet inefficient localization remains a painful barrier to geographic expansion. Lokalise changes that. It has amazing customer references. Its beautifully designed collaborative tool and powerful integrations position it to disrupt the industry’s complex and archaic business processes. I am excited to partner with this ambitious team to build a new category leader.” 

Eva Arh of capital300, said: “We are impressed by Lokalise‘s customer-centricity and best-in-class product. The team has achieved fast product-led growth while bootstrapping, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have decided to speed up expansion and accelerate growth further.”

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