Interview With Pennsylvania Startup VerbalizeIt: 2012 Techstars Grads

Ryan Frankel and Kunal Sarda, the two co-founders of Pennsylvania startup VerbalizeIt have been in Boulder Colorado as part of the most recent TechStars class. Their startup is a powerful translation platform that enables you to get connected to a powerful team of translators from your phone, skype or a web browser for real time translation. They also white label VerbalizeIt and make the APIs available to developers.

Techstars just held their 2012 Boulder Demo day on Thursday and by the reviews on the internet it was one of the best Demo Days to date.

There were a lot of cool and innovative startups at TechStars Boulder 2012 class this year. One thing we love about David Cohen and Brad Feld’s TechStars program is the fact that like 500 startups, you often find more startups from “everywhere else” then you do startups from the valley.

We got a chance to talk with VerbalizeIt back in July. Check out the interview below:

What is VerbalizeIt?

VerbalizeIt provides instant phone, Skype, and web-browser-based access to a community of human translators to facilitate global conversations. We also power business products and services with API enabling seamless access to our translator community.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds

Ryan Frankel:

Ryan co-founded VerbalizeIt while pursuing his MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. An avid traveler, Ryan found himself in an unfortunate circumstance where he could not communicate overseas due to the language barrier. Previously, Ryan was a private equity financial analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York City. An ex Haverford College baseball player, Ryan founded a web-based community to support the college athletic recruiting needs of student-athletes and college coaches. Ryan is an endurance enthusiast who has enjoyed competing in an Ironman triathlon and a marathon. He enjoys conversing in foreign languages, traveling the world and . . . eating.

Kunal Sarda:

Kunal has traveled to twenty five countries, speaks four languages, and has faced many interesting (and sometimes horrific) experiences in foreign lands due to the language barrier. Kunal co-founded VerbalizeIt while pursuing his MBA at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. As an engineer and a management consultant in his prior life, Kunal advised clients ranging from seed-stage to Fortune 500 companies, but quickly gravitated towards startups. It was only a matter of time before his love for travel, language and startups culminated in VerbalizeIt.

Where are you based?

VerbalizeIt originated in Pennsylvania and relocated to Boulder upon being selected for Techstars 2012.

What is the startup culture like where you are based?

Boulder, CO has one of the most thriving startup cultures in the nation. It’s been amazing being able to spend time here and VerbalzieIt has benefited incredibly by the injection of energy and talent that exists in Boulder.

What problem does your VerbalizeIt solve?

People facing a language barrier have two solutions at their disposal: highly cost prohibitive physical call centers and ineffective machine-based translation. VerbalizeIt is disrupting the translation landscape by providing high quality live translation at a price that anyone can afford.

What is one challenge that you’ve overcome in the startup process?

As a start-up our single biggest asset is our team. Given our limited time and resources, we were challenged with finding the right people who can execute on our vision. Since moving to Boulder, however, we have benefitted immensely from the city’s thriving  start-up community and the TechStars network in finding the right people.. Within the last two months, we have expanded our team from two to seven amazing people.

Who are your mentors and role models?

Our mentors consist of supportive friends and family members who have been with us since we conceived the idea for VerbalizeIt along with our mentors and advisors at TechStars.

What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you or your startup?

At VerbalizeIt, we frequently listen in on translations to ensure quality, and we are absolutely amazed at the breadth of situations our customers are using VerbalizeIt for.Conversations range from a businessman traveling in Mexico using VerbalizeIt to get directions to his hotel, to a stay at home mom using our service to speak with her child’s nanny!

What’s next for VerbalizeIt?

More languages. More translators. More global conversations. Our mission is to ensure that language is never a barrier in any conversation, so we are gearing up to be the go-to solution of consumers’ and business’ end-to-end translation needs in every language.


Check out VerbalizeIt for yourself here

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