#83 Smartcat CEO Ivan Smolnikov on Translation SaaS and Marketplaces

August 20, 2021 Slator
#83 Smartcat CEO Ivan Smolnikov on Translation SaaS and Marketplaces
Show Notes Chapter Markers

In a guest-centered episode, Ivan Smolnikov, CEO and Founder of Smartcat, joins SlatorPod to talk about the company’s journey as a tech-powered SaaS platform.

Ivan discusses his not-so-typical professional background and how he got into the language services and tech industry. Since 2016, he has been focused on building Smartcat into an accessible SaaS platform with a marketplace of suppliers.

The CEO talks about the complex ecosystem that comes with servicing three different client segments — enterprises, LSPs and freelancers — and how Smartcat aligns its interests with them.

Ivan also discusses how they use multi-layered technology to find qualified suppliers and match them with buyers by analyzing terminology and collecting customer feedback. Although buyers increasingly directly edit MT output in Smartcat, he still sees a bright future for specialist and tech-enabled LSPs.

The Pod rounds off with Ivan’s views on raising funds in the language industry, especially throughout the pandemic, as they closed a Series B round worth USD 14.6m.

Agenda and Intro
SlatorCon agenda finalized
Ivan Smolnikov joins the pod
Ivan’s professional background
Smartcat's elevator pitch
Services vs. platform
Project management structure
Smartcat’s three key client segments
SaaS model
How Smartcat handles payment
“Horizontal” platform in translation marketplaces
Matching buyers with the right suppliers
Clients managing their workflow in-house
Integrating machine translation
Transition into enterprise
Challenges in selling to the enterprise
Raising VC funding in the language industry
Industry outlook