Zoom to Acquire Kites for Real-Time Language Translation

Zoom is acquiring Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions (Kites), a Karlsruhe, Germany-based startup dedicated to developing real-time machine translation (MT) solutions. Kites’ technology will foster multi-language video conferences. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ChannelE2E has tracked hundreds of technology M&A deals in 2021. See the complete list of M&A deals here.

Kites Business Background

Kites, founded in 2015, has academic roots with Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, where co-founders Dr. Alex Waibel and Dr. Sebastian Stüker are faculty members. Kites’ team of 12 research scientists, along with Stüker, will remain in Karlsruhe, and help Zoom’s engineering team advance multi-language translation capabilities for Zoom users.

Zoom said in the statement it plans to invest in growing the team and is exploring opening an R&D center in Germany in the future. Dr. Waibel will become a Zoom Research Fellow to advise on Zoom’s MT research and development.

Over the last year, Zoom has made a number of improvements and additions to its video conferencing solutions, including adding an OnZoom online event platform, new end-to-end encryption (E2EE) functionality, a customizable software development kit (SDK) and enhancements to its UCaaS platform and Zoom Rooms, as ChannelE2E reported.

Zoom has also made major investments into its Zoom Certified Integrator Program and Zoom Master Agent partner program.

Zoom to Acquire Kites: Executive Commentary

Velchamy Sankarlingam, president, product & engineering, Zoom

Velchamy Sankarlingam, president of product and engineering at Zoom commented on the news:

“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. 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.”

Waibel and Stüker added:

“Kites emerged with the mission of breaking down language barriers and making seamless cross-language interaction a reality of everyday life, and we have long admired Zoom for its ability to easily connect people across the world. We know Zoom is the best partner for Kites to help advance our mission and we are excited to see what comes next under Zoom’s incredible innovation engine.”

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