Does Funding $50M To Weglot - A Translation Tool Make Sense?
In my opinion, SaaS is no longer so different than hard products in terms of quantity and variety.
New startups and SaaS products are introduced to the market as if they are mass-produced - most of them being suspiciously similar.
How many translation tools apart from Google Translate were around ten years ago? Two? Three?
Now there are dozens, if not hundreds.
As you may guess, it's already 2022, and Weglot is not the only website localization and translation tool that exists.
And quite surprisingly, it is not the highest-rated SaaS company in localization and translation as well.
Weglot raised €45M in a Series A round
That's what makes this company so interesting.
Weglot was founded in 2016 in Paris. Ever since, they have had only one investor, and the company stood on its own resources for a long time.
For six years - which is not an easy thing to do for a SaaS company.
And recently, Partech decided to invest in its fellow French associates by investing almost $50M. All at once.
“We are thrilled to welcome our new investor on board and excited to build on the growth that we have built up over the last six years. Partech is an excellent partner to help us accelerate our expansion and allow us to scale the business. This significant milestone will allow us to become the category leader for web translation,”
Augustin Prot, CEO of Weglot
Weglot stated that they would use the money to accelerate growth, market expansion, and talent acquisition.
That statement made me wonder how many people there were on the Weglot team. I was surprised to find out a number less than half what I imagined.
I declare this image the new spark for small teams and hidden gems of the SaaS market.
But why Weglot? How did they qualify for such an investment after none for six years?
How did Weglot Attract Investors After Six Years?
When I dug into the details, I didn't get the "Aha!" moment that I was expecting. I wasn't shocked about the reason.
In summary, Weglot did everything that any SaaS should but doesn't do, and did it all right.
Let me give you a longer explanation in 4 basic categories:
1- No-Code Is The New Black
Not only Weglot, but many other SaaS tools that follow a simple principle of providing no-code services have better chances of finding investors.
“There is still pride in building things from scratch and a fear of not being taken seriously as a developer/development team, when in fact, low-code platforms enhance a developer’s capabilities by enabling them to work faster and do (a lot) more. Similarly, there is a fear of no-code tools getting unruly and somehow lacking governance.”
People didn't believe that cellphones were necessary since they had landlines.
The British leaders once didn't need any fax machines, claiming that they had enough mailmen.
Now, smartphones developed even further than fax machines.
The same goes for No-Code tools.
Weglot allows everyone to work on the localization of websites - both technical and non-technical people. This is one of the reasons why Partek found the tool qualified enough to entrust $50M.
2- Another Proof That Great UX Works
While I was looking at other similar tools and their G2 pages, none caught my attention as much as Weglot's.
Their design, colors, and visuals all contribute to their great marketing.
But it was not the colors that actually caught my attention; it was the simplicity and the feeling of being in control.
“Additionally, the visual editor in Weglot makes translation editing quick and straightforward for anyone on our team.”
Ease of use is not only about coding/not coding.
It's just like listening to a speech; you won't be able to follow it unless it's structured well and flows smoothly.
3- Consistency is Key
SaaS has only recently become acknowledged by the larger investment industry. Up until a few years back, SaaS funding and investing in SaaS businesses was considered an ”alternative investment.”
And Weglot has been on the market and in action since 2016. The financial differences of those times didn't matter to them.
"Founded in 2016, Weglot has helped more than 60,000 B2B and B2C brands translate and display their websites into multiple languages, including Microsoft, Spotify, Steve Madden, and Volcom."
- Augustin Prot, Co-founder of Weglot
But does being new mean we can't grow, is that what you're saying?
Or, we've been around for 10 years, why not us but them?
If your business is new, you still have space to grow.
If you have been around for a long time and you are still standing strong, your time to shine will come soon.
And this graph is my proof.
Many founders have a misconception about how long it can take to realize that their business is not doing well. Success and failure, both take time to realize. Weglot became this valuable due to their consistency - along with correct marketing strategies (that worked for them).
4- Personalized Help For All Needs
This aspect is not only a key factor that made Weglot eligible for such a great investment, it's also a must-have quality in today's market to compete.
Weglot allows you to manage the languages you want to use, lets you play with the sizes and colors, and can be managed by multiple people.
You can code your own themes to customize it or benefit from the flexibility of no-code.
You can get your team of translators, use machine translation, or get the Weglot team to do the translation.
Whatever suits you best, the tool helps you.
And this is how you turn a tool into a show-stopping unicorn.