Breaking down language barriers and making professional interpretation available to everyone: Q&A session with Simona Andrijauskaite

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Simona Andrijauskaite is a Co-Founder at Interactio – multilingual meetings platform that revolutionized the way multilingual events and meetings are happening. Simona is a frequent speaker in tech, entrepreneurship and women empowering events. Interactio is currently working with the most important world’s meetings and the companies run rate growth in 2020  was 12 times. The company aims to radically simplify the interpretation process and allow organizers and attendees to focus on what matters most – the content of the event.

  1. Interactio was founded in 2014, and had tremendous growth in 2020 due to the worldwide shift to virtual events format. Could you please share the key milestones of the company’s success story and what were the main challenges?

Back in 2014, me and the other co-founders, Henrikas Urbonas and Domas Labokas, attended many conferences on-site. We noticed that traditional wired microphones make it hard for attendees to ask questions fast and conveniently. Frustrated by tangled wires and loud echo in the conference hall, we came up with the idea to create the predecessor of Interactio – mobile software that turned a smartphone into a working microphone, allowing anyone from the audience to voice their question.

A year later, conference organizers gave us a new challenge: a software alternative for hardware interpretation equipment. And we took it. That’s how the first version of the Interactio audio-streaming App was born!

In April 2021, the Interactio team exceeded 100 people and keeps expanding weekly. With a total of 25K events supported already, our multilingual meetings solutions bridge remote simultaneous interpretation in on-site, hybrid, and remote setups. Our team is happy that the company remains the best-rated RSI solution in the industry, with a Trustpilot score of 4.6 and a record of 120,000 attendees connected simultaneously.

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  1. Could you please tell us in a few words how Interactio platform works?

Basically, the one tool combines remote simultaneous interpretation and a remote participant system, connecting up to 2,000 participants in a virtual room with an unlimited number of languages. Connected on an interactive panel via desktop or mobile device, attendees can exchange ideas in a live chat, cast votes, and show essential information through a screen sharing function, while Interactio’s fully trained and certified remote interpreters are delivering live interpretation.

  1. How does Interactio simplify the interpretation process for organizers, participants and interpreters?

Interactio is the ultimate full solution for any meeting. It doesn’t only provide interpretation services, matching the organizer with the certified interpreters, but also integrates preferred interpretation technology hardware or virtual meetings platform.

With Interactio, anyone can organize an in-person event, a virtual conference, or a hybrid meeting from any place on the planet, provided you have stable Internet connectivity.

Moreover, our team provides professional support from the early preparation stage to the last minute of the meeting with dedicated project management and technical assistance.

  1. What are the use cases for your solutions?

Interactio solutions are applicable for governmental sessions, community events and business meetings. With Interactio participant tool, you’ll be able to share your screen, exchange files, text in group chats, and conduct surveys – all while listening to the interpretation. By the way, you can also moderate the meeting and collect the listener’s feedback in the end.

Furthermore, for the past 5 years, conferences were our biggest strength. That’s why we combined traditional remote simultaneous interpretation with remote participant option to adapt to the recent changes and help all digital attendees interact with each other as they would on an on-site conference. Interactio was known to work with large scale conferences, for example:

  • Web Summit used it in 2019 for 70K attendees.
  • The Send in 2019 also used Interactio platform. The event had 60k attendees.
  1. And what about the robustness of your information security management. Does Interactio have in place control processes and necessary measures to protect the company from information security breaches?

Interactio is officially ISO 27001-certified for all our security processes with a scope of “Remote simultaneous platform services”. A meticulous preparation started one year ago finished with an extensive 20-hour two-part audit with 19 security domains and 300+ questions to answer from the ISO certification body.

ISO 27001 is a comprehensive security management system that covers all Interactio domains and ensures that our business processes and services are executed according to the best industry practices. In simple words, experts in security from a third-party organization confirmed that our information security management (ISM) with a scope of remote simultaneous interpretation services is compliant with the highest industry standard. 

  1. What are your key clients?

Our last year’s focus was and still is institutions (e.g. European Commission, European Parliament, United Nations), where there is no place for an error and they need the most professional solution, so the priority for current expansion remains the same. We also work with such corporate clients as BMW, JP Morgan and Microsoft. We are planning to expand our corporate client base as well as work more with a larger public that has the need for professional multilingual communication.

  1. Recently your company has received a large $30M investment from well-known funds, such as VC firms Eight Roads Ventures and Silicon Valley-based Storm Ventures with participation from Practica Capital, Notion Capital, as well as renowned angels, such as Jaan Tallinn who is one of the co-founders of Skype, and Young Sohn – the former Chief Strategy Officer of Samsung. This is a very large Series A. On what are you planning to spend the funding?

First of all, we will focus on enhancing the technology behind the software and will be making sure that the UX/UI is customer-driven. We also aim to build a world-class solution for interpreters, so they would have the best working conditions from their chosen place of work.

No doubt that the team will be a key element to further success. That is why we are also planning to increase our team size a few times, by hiring the top industry’s talent. In addition, we will expand the number of qualified interpreters we work with to satisfy the demand that is currently rising a lot. 

  1. What are your thoughts on the future of the remote interpretation industry (RSI) – online in particular? Do you believe it will be growing in the next few years or soon will stagnate?

Today, 94% of the world’s population does not speak English as their first language. In fact, 75% do not speak English at all. Moreover, in Europe alone, 62% of EU citizens do not have a strong enough level to hold a conversation. In this light, language services represent a 42bn Euros market growing at 7%+ CAGR. The interpretation services are 6.5bn Euros, which doesn’t include any logistics and equipment costs associated with interpreters today. Adding an extra 25% for additional charges to provide on-site interpretation, we believe that RSI solutions’ opportunity is 10-15bn Euros and is expected to grow significantly in a few years as the RSI solutions lower the barriers of adoption for interpretation.

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