AI translation unicorn DeepL reaches $2B valuation with new $300M investment

DeepL, the Cologne-based unicorn that has been rivalling machine translation giants such as Google Translate, today announced a new investment of $300mn (€277mn), reaching a $2bn valuation.

Born from online dictionary Linguee, the startup was founded in 2017 by Jarek Kutylowski, who’s also serving as the company’s CEO.

DeepL offers free and premium AI translation services, with a special focus on B2B products, where the company sees the biggest demand.

It now covers 32 languages and counts 100,000 business users. A list that includes the likes of Nikkei, Coursera, and Deutsche Bahn.

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The investment follows a period of significant growth for DeepL. Within the last 12 months, the startup has opened its first office in the US and added Arabic, Norwegian, and Korean to its language portfolio. It has also launched new products for businesses, such as the DeepL Write Pro AI assistant.

The fresh funding “comes during what is on track to be DeepL’s most transformative year yet and is a testament to the crucial role that our language AI platform has in solving the complex linguistic challenges global companies face today,” said Kutylowski.

DeepL’s edge

DeepL claims to offer the world’s best machine AI translation, enabling more nuanced and accurate results compared to its competitors. Some tests of our own here at TNW did indeed see the startup come out on top.

The company’s success lies in the architecture of its neural network, its training data, and input from human editors.

According to Kutylowski, DeepL’s edge is also the result of hard work, a great team, and focus.

“Focus is always an important thing,” he told TNW during a December interview. “Translate isn’t the core business of Google — it’s one of the 100 side gigs. The same goes if you consider LLMs and the OpenAIs of this world as our competition; translation is only one thing of what they’re doing and their GPU is doing a tonne of different things. We’re focused on one particular area.”

Index Ventures led the funding round with participation from ICONIQ Growth, Teachers’ Venture Growth, and Atomico, among others.

DeepL plans to continue investing in R&D innovation, global market expansion, and talent acquisition.

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