Zoom buys German speech translation tech startup Kites


Zoom has picked up Karlsruhe, Germany-based machine translation tech company Kites for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is meant to assist Zoom’s engineering staff “advance the field of MT to improve meeting productivity and efficiency”, the buyer says, by providing multi-language translation capabilities for Zoom users.

“We are continuously looking for new ways to deliver happiness to our users and improve meeting productivity, and MT solutions will be key in enhancing our platform for Zoom customers across the globe,” said Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering at Zoom. “With our aligned missions to make collaboration frictionless – regardless of language, geographic location, or other barriers – we are confident Kites’ impressive team will fit right in with Zoom.”

Started in 2015, Kites has solid academic roots at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where the company’s co-founders Dr. Alex Waibel and Dr. Sebastian Stüker are faculty members.

The Kites team will remain largely based in Karlsruhe, whilst Zoom explores opening an R&D center in Germany in the future.

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