VCs Speak Up For eTranslate

A year ago, eTranslate Inc. looked like any other struggling portfolio company. It was unable to secure additional venture financing to advance its business, and it had no realistic hope of staging an IPO. While the public markets continue to give such companies the cold shoulder, however, venture capital investors have rekindled their warm feelings toward eTranslate.

Last week, the San Francisco-based firm (which will soon be renamed Convey Software) announced the completion of an $18 million series E round. Crystal Internet Ventures led the transaction, and was joined by previous investors Alloy Ventures, GE Capital, New Enterprise Associates and Walden International.

ETranslate expects to close on an as-yet-undisclosed amount of committed capital from additional investors in the next 30 to 45 days.

Walden International Chairman Lip-Bu Tan was named chairman of eTranslate’s board. Joseph Tzeng, a managing director with Crystal Internet Ventures, also received a board seat as part of the financing.

“They’ve brought in great management; it’s a complete transformation for them,” Tzeng said. “Otherwise, it wouldn’t be appealing to us. [ETranslate] has the most advanced product offering in its class … and a viable business opportunity.”

It has been 20 months between financings for eTranslate, which closed a $43 million Series D round in April 2000. GE Equity led the transaction, investing alongside The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bain Capital and Walden International.

First round players New Enterprise Associates, Alloy Ventures and Botts & Co. also invested.

ETranslate provides localization software products for multinational corporations, including Microsoft Corp., The Procter & Gamble Co., Compaq Computer Corp. and General Electric Co.

According to eTranslate CEO Janet Heppner, who came aboard earlier this year from the U.S. division of German software giant SAF AG, the firm’s localization software suite “is the only product to completely address the needs of everyone involved in the localization process. By implementing the suite, clients will achieve a significant ROI through cost savings and dramatically improve the quality of their localization efforts.”

Robyn Kurdek can be contacted at Robyn.Kurdek@tfn.com