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Deal to translate into growth for Lingo24

TRANSLATION company Lingo24 said it was close to sealing its first major fundraising deal in a move which will help to accelerate its growth prospects.

WORLD IN HIS HANDS: Lingo24 founder Christian Arno said his company was close to closing a fundraising deal.
WORLD IN HIS HANDS: Lingo24 founder Christian Arno said his company was close to closing a fundraising deal.

Founder Christian Arno, who will remain in place, said he was "excited" by the calibre of investors he was bringing into the Edinburgh business but was not able to go into specifics about the transaction. He said: "We have agreed a deal in outline and principal, and we are going through due diligence at the moment but should have an announcement in [the first quarter of the year]. I'm very excited about the people we are talking about as they will give us much more than money."

Mr Arno also confirmed the business he founded from his bedroom in Aberdeen made a "planned loss" in 2013 as it invested in building a technology platform and adding senior staff members and directors.

While Mr Arno would not give an exact figure he said it was a "couple of hundred thousand".

The 2012 accounts for the business showed a retained profit of more than £127,000. Sales at the business, which employs more than 200 across the UK, Germany, Romania, Panama, the

Philippines and New Zealand, grew 12% from around £6.7 million to £7.5m.

Sales in Asia were said to have grown 32% with the US and Canada rising by 16%. In Europe the fastest growing markets were highlighted as France, which was up 47%, Belgium (46%) and Switzerland (31%).

More than 60% of revenue comes from outside the UK.

New clients won in the year included audio brand BeatsByDre and smartphone protective case maker Lifeproof.

Lingo24 also completed large multi-language projects for sportswear giant adidas and Asian contracts for global marketing agency Interbrand.

The company expects to continue growing its machine translation and development base in Manchester in 2014.

However Mr Arno said that he had been disappointed by the growth pattern of the business in 2013 but he was hopeful the building blocks were in place for quicker expansion in the years to come. One highlight was an improvement in margins, which was attributed to better efficiencies brought about by the Coach software platform the company has built.

Further updates to that system are pencilled in, while there plans to launch an online ordering programme.

An application programming interface that would work as a direct link between a client's online presence and Lingo24's translation software, is also in the pipeline.

Mr Arno added: "I think a business with our people and characteristics should be growing much quicker.

"To my mind if we drift below 30% annual growth, that is drifting towards mediocrity.

"A web-focused business with our characteristics should be able to hit those targets so that is what we are looking for. "

Lingo24's network of freelance linguists, which number around 4,000, translates more than 65 million words every year.

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