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Does TV’s Shark Tank Bite on Skype-Based Translation App?

A little under a year ago, we did an interview with Ryan Frankel, the CEO of VerbalizeIt – a real-time translation app that adds live bi-lingual interpreters to Skype voice and video calls.

Since then, Ryan and VerbalizeIt co-founder Kunal Sarda recorded an episode of ABC’s hit reality series Shark Tank. For those not familiar, Shark Tank is primetime TV show (currently the most popular show on Friday nights) where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of real investors like multi-billionaire Mark Cuban.

The guys at VerbalizeIt spent months honing their pitch and then presented to “The Sharks.” After carefully considering VerbalizeIt’s pitch, the investors decided to… actually, we don’t know what they’ve decided yet. You’ll have to tune in to Shark Tank on Friday, May 17th (9:00pm EST) to find out.

In the meantime, we do know that Ryan and Kunal spent an hour pitching “The Sharks” and their segment will be edited down to some eight minutes in the actual broadcast. During the full hour, VerbalizeIt and the Sharks repeatedly discussed Skype and how VerbalizeIt works within Skype voice and video calls.

Ryan says, “The Sharks got excited when we brought up Skype. They saw it as a great platform for VerbalizeIt – both in terms of the technology itself and in terms of the reach and popularity of Skype.”

Whether they find investors on Shark Tank or not, VerbalizeIt has grown like crazy over the last months and will continue to evolve. They’ve gone from four to six translation languages and from a community of 2,000 interpreters to over 5,000 bi-lingual (and tri-lingual) experts on call. They now have interpreters specialized in specific industries such as medical, legal and financial translation.

Gloria Lee, a VerbalizeIt Korean Interpreter explains, “VerbalizeIt is made up of real people. We’re a live community that shares interests, cares about one another and is working together towards helping people communicate better.”

Even though VerbalizeIt is still in its start-up stages, they are already finding a way to give back by providing language interpretation for the Skype in the Classroom initiative. Ryan concludes, “None of our success would be possible without Skype. The ease of use, quality of the calls and nearly universal familiarity with Skype has helped VerbalizeIt become what it is today.”

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