NEW YORK — March 30, 2021 — KUDO, Inc., creator of the only cloud-based video conferencing platform with real-time multilingual interpretation supporting 100+ languages and 147 sign languages, announced the close of its $21M Series A funding led by Felicis Ventures. Felicis, who led the seed round for the multilingual meeting platform, is joined by a team of investors including Maverick Ventures, Elephant VC, FJ Labs, Global Founders Capital and billionaire activist investor Bill Ackman in the oversubscribed round. This focused, agile team of venture partners joins original investors ID8 Investments, Advancit Capital and AirAngels, bringing the total round of funding to nearly $27 million. The new capital will be used to attract talent with global background and vision, further the company’s mission of removing language barriers and supporting the global economy through its Language-as-a-Service (LaaS) products.
Since being established in 2017 by the creators of interpretation equipment and language services for global summits, world leader meetings and tete-a-tetes in parliaments and with presidents, KUDO has been a leading tool for multilingual online meetings and a key business continuity ally for international organizations, governments and Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., Europe, South America and the APAC region. With the rapid adoption of remote-work born out of the pandemic in 2020, demand for the company’s services exploded by over 3500% by offering convenience, government-level security, quality assurance and cost-effectiveness. In January 2021, KUDO Marketplace launched a groundbreaking new scheduling platform that provides clients with 24/7 access to 1000’s of KUDO Pro-Certified interpreters who encompass the largest community of professional conference interpreters. KUDO has also created a new economy for interpreters throughout the world who no longer need to depend upon niche agencies and personal relationships to book work.
A tool for the new future of work, KUDO will specifically use the new funds to add the globally seasoned, diverse A-players required to meet the escalating demand for its real-time multilingual interpretation conferencing platform. Funds will also be utilized for product engineering, marketing and the expansion of operations to support the companies’ high growth.
“KUDO’s mission has always been to break language barriers and truly connect people worldwide, 24/7 in real-time,” noted CEO and Co-Founder Fardad Zabetian. “We have elevated the meeting experience beyond four walls and connected businesses and people in a truly borderless fashion, without language or geographical constraints. We have created a way for businesses, big or small, to attain their potential with limitless opportunities for communication collaboration.”
“While the pandemic fueled the need for KUDO’s technology, I believe the demand for its multilingual conference platform will continue to grow along with globalization and businesses prioritizing collaborative, inclusive cultures,” said Niki Pezeshki, Partner at Felicis Ventures. “Fardad Zabetian and the KUDO team have the skills, network, and passion to scale the business across public and private sectors. And in doing so, they have an important role to play in business and economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic.”
As post pandemic travel and room capacity restrictions begin to lift, hybrid meetings will be a key consideration for meeting planners, trade shows, government entities and all global enterprises. To meet this need, prior to the funding close, KUDO rolled out new proprietary features that allow remote — and in-person attendees — to select the language they wish to follow. The new hybrid features include options such as lobby and waiting rooms, advanced voting and polling capabilities, as well as document and screen sharing. The new features integrated into the KUDO platform provide a flexible solution compatible with almost all audio and video devices, to make hybrid meetings easy to set up and manage.
About KUDO: Created by the engineers and language experts who built interpretation infrastructure and linguist teams for the United Nations and some of the most significant global summits and meetings, KUDO is a cloud-based video conferencing platform with real-time multilingual interpretation in 100+ languages and 147 sign languages. KUDO has also created a new economy for 1000’s of professional interpreters all over the world whose highly sought after talents can be used for business anywhere globally. The New York City-based company came to market in 2017 as a SaaS, but quickly became a Language-as-a-Service (LaaS) overcoming language barriers for diplomatic agencies, governments and Fortune 500 enterprises in the U.S., Europe, South America and APAC regions. KUDO is in the business of overcoming communication barriers so all can speak their own language.
About Felicis: Founded in 2006, Felicis Ventures is a venture capital firm investing in companies reinventing core markets, as well as those creating frontier technologies. Felicis focuses on early stage investments and currently manages over $1.2B in capital across 7 funds. The firm is an early backer of more than 30 companies valued at $1B+. More than 80 of its portfolio companies have been acquired or gone public, including Adyen (IPO), Credit Karma (acq by Intuit), Cruise (acq by General Motors), Fitbit (IPO), Guardant Health (IPO), Meraki (acq by Cisco), Ring (acq by Amazon), and Shopify (IPO). The firm is based in Menlo Park, CA. Learn more at www.felicis.com.