Startup Of The Week: Interactio
Interactio startup provides a simultaneous translation app that fully replaces interpretation hardware for live events. They recently raised 580K Eur from Change Ventures, Kima Ventures, Practica Capital and two business angels, so Henrikas Urbonas, founder of Interactio kindly shares their experience.
So what is Interactio? How it works?
Interactio is a real-time audio streaming solution, which is mainly used to stream interpretation from interpreter’s computer to event participant phones. But there are more and more cases where Interactio is being used to stream live audio in the event to participants phones, so those who cannot attend, are hard of hearing or as an organizer you cannot use loud speakers at the event, could hear real time what is happening.
In order to use Interactio services you need a computer with internet access, microphone or other sound input, Interactio desktop app and that is it. Now you can stream sound real time to thousands of people who can join via Interactio mobile app, browser app or even call in.
What are your competitors and competitive advantages?
There are several software companies that work in our field and are leaded by great people. Our main advantages are that we have multiple channels to reach attendee (Wi-Fi, mobile data, call in), Interactio system always “thinks” and analyses situation to improve stream quality to the listener and we have in house professional team that could support any client and situation. That is why major corporates and other clients are switching to us.
What were the reasons behind coming up with this idea and launching this product?
It was not an “aha” moment. We have started with different product a.k.a “SimpletoAct” & “Cloudmic” and while working on it we saw bigger problem about which people from our network that were constantly having to deal with the equipment were very clear about the pain and as founders we were familiar this pain due to our studies in LCC international university which is very multilingual.
Through our journey we have learned how important it is to have simple solution that removes language barrier. By now we heard so many touching stories how people are grateful that Interactio was there for them to receive a message, word or information in their own language. And everyone assumes that in globalizing world everyone must speak English but the thing is it is not the case. Now we want speakers from around the world and participants come from all over the world too, truth be told, not everyone is fluent speaker in English or even fluent listener, so in order to avoid miscommunication there must be intermediate like Interpreter.
When exactly did you launch, what were the main challenges before launching?
We have launched Interactio very early in January 2015 and then we got our first client and huge supporter over the time which is Klaipeda City Church and pastor Saulius. We are very grateful for their trust and partnership over these years!
The main challenge at that time was working solely on Wi-Fi networks. Meaning if something is configured not by our request then there is high chance Interactio services might not work. But we gathered strong team of developers and consultants to overcome most of the issues quite fast. Now our expertise goes very deep and Interactio software is very well equipped to find all possible ways to the listener.
We work with Events & AV (Audio Visual companies), Corporate & Churches. Our geography is very wide but currently most of our business is in USA.
What are main challenges while working on this product and how are you overcoming them?
We thought the main challenge is making a product very reliable but our first major challenge was to overcome quite conservative industry mind-set. People are very used to hardware and everyone had issues with software and apps, so we had to show and educate about other way of doing things.
Main tactic was going directly to potential clients and talking with them or I would say listening to what keeps them from using Interactio. Since we really cared about helping them by making continues improvements and proving that Interactio is better solution by all means to what they have used until now they became very loyal clients and we are very thankful for them. Now we getting more and more people coming to us because they have used it in other event or our current client recommended us.
Congratulations with recent investment from Change Ventures, Kima Ventures, Practica Capital and two business angels! In your opinion, what were the success factors that helped you to attract this investments?
Thank you! We are very very happy to work with these guys! Great people!
Investors invest in people who are behind the idea. It is always people first.
We are here to make things happen and we do not expect easy road or easy decisions to make, we want this to succeed as much as we want to eat or breathe. Everything else is secondary.
So success was our determination and proof that we are here to work as much as needed, plus amazing product and very interesting industry but people comes first.
How are you funded? Do you seek extra funding?
At the very beginning it was our own money, then we got angel investment trough friends, then we won some competitions and projects and then in order to scale our efforts we have raised venture capital. Currently we have enough money to reach our planned milestones. However, I would be lying if I would say that we are not looking into Series A round to scale our business globally.
Please introduce your founders, your core team and your broader team?
We are 3 co-founders who concentrate on different fields. Domas is our CTO and the beautiful mind behind tech side of Interactio. Simona is our power behind sales as she is leading all the efforts there. Henrikas is the one that does everything as most CEO at early stage company.
Currently our whole team is made of 14 people, all great and very dedicated! Without them there would be no Interactio. Huge Thank you to Cara, Alex, Janis, JB, Tadas, Vidas, Rytis, Algis, Andrius, Gytis, Marius & Startup.lt team.
How has business been so far? Could you share some numbers to illustrate this (users, sales, etc)?
Well we mostly concentrating on number of events we are doing per month, so currently we are doing hundreds of events per month. For example, now in few months we are doing the same number of events like we did throughout all 2016. So, the business is taking off.
Future plans, ambitions? Simply speaking – what’s next?
It is very simple, to be mostly used solution to stream interpretation in the market by number of events. It will improve millions of people life’s. Now all team focuses on making more clients happy & getting more events to scale these efforts we are looking for sales reps to join great cause and fantastic team!
Thank you for the answers!