Qualcomm-backed Reverie Tech claims revenues of $750K in FY14, looking to raise $4M

Qualcomm-backed Reverie Tech which makes text communication possible in more than 50 languages claims that it has generated revenues of about $750,000 (Rs 4.5 crore) in FY14. The five year old startup further claims that it has processed more than 100 million words on the cloud.

"In the last six months, since our language as a service has gone live, over 50 million words have been processed through this platform," said Jonathan Bill, strategic advisor to Reverie.

"In a month, our LaaS platform will transition into a fully self service platform for our users," he added.

The company has more than 20 clients including Qualcomm, Micromax, Accenture, Intel, MapMyIndia, and Indieon.

"Our clientele already includes MNCs who also use our product in the international markets. Although we may not have a dedicated sales presence outside India, our products have already been deployed in several regions like Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East, outside India. We expect to add 6-7 new clients over the next quarter," said the company's co-founder Arvind Pani.

Making language digitally inclusive

Basically, Reverie makes text communication possible via instant transliteration and facilitates it across digital platforms and devices. It is now in advanced stages to take its product offerings to emerging markets like West Asia, South East Asia and Africa. Reverie provides text input for normal keypads as well as touchscreen devices. Its solutions include keypad designs, predictive typing and dictionaries. The keypads can be either physical mapping of keys or virtual.

It also offers solutions that enable content providers to deliver their content in multiple languages, based on a user's choice and the content generation tools that automatically do the text-to-audio synchronisation. For example, the lyrics of a Hindi song can be transliterated to various other languages without affecting the song. And the same holds good for chat.

The company had also launched software development kits (SDKs) for application developers to enable text display, typing and transliteration in multiple languages. Android, J2ME and BlackBerry app developers can enable their apps to support those languages almost instantly. The SDK contains a set of UI controls like buttons, text boxes, edit boxes, etc.

Founded in November 2009 by siblings Arvind and Vivekanand Pani, and SK Mohanty with a seed capital of Rs 1 crore, Reverie provides display technologies (language fonts and rendering engine), input method (keypads with predictive input capability) and text processing solutions (transliteration capability to render text in multiple languages) to various device manufacturers. Moreover, apart from mobile phones, these solutions can also be embedded into set-top boxes, navigation devices and other appliances.

Currently, Reverie's platform supports more than 50 languages including 28 foreign languages that include complex languages like Perso-Arabic, among other South Asian languages.

Fund raising and expansion

Headquartered at Bangalore, the company has sales and business development operations in Mumbai and Delhi. In 2011, Reverie won the Q-Prize competition organised by Qualcomm in the local language category for the India region. As a result, they received $100,000 from Qualcomm Ventures. In addition, the company also received $100,000 from a US-based HNI investor.

"We are now looking to raise about $4 million. The money raised will be used for scaling up the LaaS offering, investing further into technology up gradation and expansion into new emerging global markets," said Arvind.

The startup is aiming to achieve 15 million new installations/downloads in about a year.

The opportunity

"Currently, majority of text communication in the digital world happens in English. But a study reveals that less than 10 per cent of the Indian population knows the language. That could be the reason why nearly 500 million people use their handsets for voice calls only. We aim to eliminate this language inequality by providing solutions for developers, hardware manufacturers and other content providers – so that they can optimise their offering to support various regional languages," said Arvind.

Arvind sees an immense opportunity for these language-based solutions and services. "China alone has a $10 billion-plus market for local language services on mobile phones, compared to India's meagre $1.2 billion. Indian consumers spend over $2.5 billion annually on newspaper subscriptions and over $5.5 billion on TV channel subscriptions, 92-95 per cent of which are in local languages. Yet, the mobile market, in spite of having a much larger user base, has remained largely untapped due to lack of options for local language text consumption and interaction," he concluded.

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