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August 12, 2013 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Focused on Delivering the Best Translation Management Solutions for Business Users, Cloudwords Helps Companies Seeking New Revenue Streams Expand Globally by Quickly Translating Content to Reach Broader Audiences

About Cloudwords:

Cloudwords was founded in 2010 and since then has been focused on delivering the best translation management solutions for business users. Our team is comprised of individuals who have worked at, NetSuite, Yahoo!, Cisco Systems, TIBCO Software and various translation vendors– and all of us are passionate about empowering customers with tools that make their lives easier.

Michael Meinhardt

With more than twelve years experience in the translation and localization industry, Michael Meinhardt, CEO and Co-founder of Cloudwords, helps companies go global by streamlining their translation strategy. Prior to Cloudwords, Meinhardt worked with organizations across various industries to localize their product, marketing, and training materials for the first time.  He has also advised enterprise customers regarding their global translation strategy, including Cisco Systems, Hitachi Data Systems, Apple, and Symantec.


Meinhardt is a graduate of Santa Clara University and earned his MBA from the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.


Translation Management


400 Montgomery Street, Suite 1200
San Francisco, CA 94104 USA


Print Version


Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – August 12, 2013

CEOCFO: Mr. Meinhardt, what is the concept at Cloudwords?

Mr. Meinhardt: The Cloudwords concept is quite simple. We help companies in search of global revenue find it faster. What we mean by that is companies every day are looking for new revenue streams, and most often, they are turning to other countries to expand their revenue outside of the United States. The companies that are already global need to find customers and to do so, they do not need to speak English, but instead speak the native language. Companies here in the United States or around the world are looking to sell internationally, and they need to find a way to quickly translate content in order to reach that exact audience. Content can come in the form of websites, marketing collateral, products, training material, or customer support and regardless of its form, we work with each of our clients to ensure it is translated and to ensure the process is seamless.


CEOCFO: How has the business developed since the start in 2010?

Mr. Meinhardt: Cloudwords has developed quite well. We were founded in 2010, and we actually did not launch our product until the middle part of 2011, so we have had our product in the market for about two years. We are continuing to learn a lot. Customers range in size from under ten million dollars to companies that are doing five to ten billion dollars. Our product is quite large-scale, meaning that not only are we able to service the people that are going global, but we are also servicing those that have been localizing and translating content for decades. From that perspective, we are progressing very well.


CEOCFO: How do you reach potential customers?

Mr. Meinhardt: We offer a channel strategy, where we are working with partners that have already established relationships with marketing professionals, product professionals, and training professionals. We also have a direct team here that through Google searches and different inbound activities are receiving those leads and are passing them on. We have seen quite a bit of inbound activity for what we do, but we also have a direct sales force that sits in San Francisco.


CEOCFO: Do many companies come to you before the fact, or do they come to you after they have tried to do something different and seen that it has not worked?

Mr. Meinhardt: We have only been around for about two years so we are seeing both scenarios. When you think about what we are doing, we are replacing spreadsheets, e-mail, and workflow charts. That has officially been the way that people in these organizations have managed the translation process. What we do find is that since we are helping people at different ends of the spectrum, a lot of them have tried to find a resource and someone inside their company that knows Spanish and they try to get them to do the translation in an ad hoc way. The success rate for this approach is incredibly low – if not zero. It is not scalable. So when that fails, because it is ultimately not that person’s core job, they look to outsourcing to find professionals who can do the translating. When you think about it, it makes sense. Typically, the sales or marketing professionals that have the task of translating are not doing their real jobs. They are looking to be revenue-generating people, and unfortunately, when they get sidelined with doing translations it takes their eye off the ball. Reaching people at different ends of the spectrum- those who have translated for the first time, as well as those who have been doing it for quite some time is where we see Cloudwords making a difference.


CEOCFO: How are you able to capture all the nuance necessary for effective translation?

Mr. Meinhardt: The beauty of the translation space is that it is a massive industry – estimated to be about a 30 billion dollar marketplace. It is a massive industry, yet few people have heard about, and the industry itself is made up of about 30,000 different translation vendors. These are project management shops or project management teams that outsource a lot of the translation work to individual freelance translators. There are millions of freelance translators all around the world, so there is a massive network and massive supply chain that comes into effect. As a company, Cloudwrods does not offer translation services. We do not do the actual physical translation, but we make the translation process better. We enable the process for these companies to have translation success. Historically, the way the companies have managed this process to get a higher degree of quality-because there are nuances that you described in translation or in the movement of words- is to create glossaries of terminology or sound guides around how best to articulate whatever the message is to that given audience. The companies that are most effective in this process create and maintain those two types of documents and keep them updated to a large degree.


CEOCFO: Would you walk us through an example of a company experience using Cloudwords?

Mr. Meinhardt: A company that is going global for the first time shows up on our doorstep and says, “Help me please, I know this is a painful process and I do not know where to start but I need to translate my website into ten different languages, and I need it done in two weeks.” We walk them through the process about who Cloudwords is and so forth, and we talk to them about identifying the goals they need to achieve, establishing a set of content that from the beginning is going to help on the actual translation cycle. When they show up on our website, they sign up for what would be a free trial. We allow them to log in immediately, and once they log in, they can create a translation project that does not cost them anything to try our system out. They walk through the project creation process; they send their projects out to up to five different translation vendors, and those vendors bid on the project. It is similar to the concept of Angie’s List where you have companies bidding on your project for you and the vendors are rated and reviewed inside of our application so that there is complete transparency throughout the process. They get the bid back from the vendors that are inside of our own internal marketplace, the customer selects a winning provider, and the project is initiated. We handle all of the money, so they can pay online with a credit card, or we can invoice them. Either way works for us. Once the translation is complete, the translation vendor loads the translated content or website content back into Cloudwords, and the customer grabs files and moves on with their life.


CEOCFO: What was the hardest piece of the offering to put in place?

Mr. Meinhardt: The hardest piece was getting the product to the point that was extremely valuable to the customer. What we found is that simply matching the customer with the vendor was valuable, but it was not that the golden piece of this thread. What is more valuable is creating what we call the easy button for customers who have translation projects and making it something that they do not need to think about or worry about. Bringing translation to a global market is no easy feat, especially for those that have been doing it for quite some time. I would say that the hardest part for us has been the fact that we are looking to consistently push ourselves and make sure that the product is right for the market that we are targeting.


CEOCFO: Do you provide analytics as well?

Mr. Meinhardt: We do analytics, which is one of our customers’ largest challenges. Many of the companies that are managing these projects have very little insight into the success of their global outreach, and many people manage their ROI in Excel Spreadsheets. What we created is a system that not only tracks the progress of the projects, but can also allow the companies to report on how fast they are moving the projects through the system, the relative cost of the projects, and the ultimate ROI on the translation. Nobody else does this like we do and that’s evident by the roster of customer names we have in our Rolodex. Many companies find extreme value in Cloudwords because there is a way for them to capture the entire process.


CEOCFO: As far as languages to translate into or what markets they should be thinking of, is that something the customer has decided before they come to you?

Mr. Meinhardt: Sometimes. Most often they do come prepared with the types of markets they are looking to target, but the common rule in the industry is that there are really 10 languages that capture 90% of the business market. The ten languages are French, Italian, German, and Spanish in Europe, Brazilian Portuguese and Latin American Spanish here in the Americas, and Chinese for China as well as Japanese and Korean. We believe that If you get those ten languages, you will capture 90% of the business market. What we do see are companies that are dabbling in what we call the long-tail languages. Some companies are looking to move into Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, Polish, Romanian, and Czech. In Asia, we are seeing people move into Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, as well Indonesian, for instance. That is an exciting space but obviously still in development..


CEOCFO: That sounds like a lot of opportunity for you!

Mr. Meinhardt: Exactly. There is a massive opportunity here. The beautiful thing about this is that the world is getting smaller. Not everybody speaks English, and for companies that are looking to grow globally, they are forced to translate content. It is a perfect storm.


CEOCFO: Cloudwords has been named to the JMP Securities Hot 100. Would you tell us about that and how meaningful is recognition for you?

Mr. Meinhardt: We are very humbled by the mention in the JMP Securities Hot 100, and it is certainly an honor. This recognition is important- in the short order we are quite well known in the translation and localization industries, even by the large organizations that go head-to-head with us at the sales table. It is important, but outside of industry recognition, we are more interested in what our customers are thinking about and how well they are doing. The Hot 100 List and the other accolades that come along with that are certainly amazing, but we are focused on a day-to-day basis on making sure that our customers continue to find value in the application and the services that we provide.


CEOCFO: Why should people in the business and investment community pay attention to Cloudwords?

Mr. Meinhardt: Cloudwords enables companies to expand their businesses globally in the most efficient, flexible and cost effective way. Our customers are realizing that there are amazing benefits around the Cloudwords products and services. We are helping companies get to market 80% faster than they could before. What used to take them five months to achieve in their own manual processes, Cloudwords can get done in less than a month. What used to take them a month to is taking them less than a week, and what used to take them a couple of weeks we are getting done in 24 hours. When you think about the magnitude and the speed at which we allow companies to reach these global markets, it means real global revenue. When you ask a company, what five months of revenue would mean to their business – to their bottom line - you get some pretty excellent answers. We are proud of what we have done, but we still have a long way to go in terms of what we want to build.


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“Cloudwords enables companies to expand their businesses globally in the most efficient, flexible and cost effective way. Our customers are realizing that there are amazing benefits around the Cloudwords products and services. We are helping companies get to market 80% faster than they could before. What used to take them five months to achieve in their own manual processes, Cloudwords can get done in less than a month. What used to take them a month to is taking them less than a week, and what used to take them a couple of weeks we are getting done in 24 hours. When you think about the magnitude and the speed at which we allow companies to reach these global markets, it means real global revenue.”- Michael Meinhardt


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