Zoom acquires German AI translation startup Kites

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
  • Follow author on
Representational Image

US-based video-conferencing platform Zoom has acquired a startup developer of AI-powered real-time language translation technologies, Karlsruhe Information Technology Solutions (Kites).

According to the reports, the firm aims to boost meeting productivity and efficiency by providing users with real-time multi-language translation capabilities. Zoom has stated that the Kites’ talented team of 12 research scientists will aid its engineering team in furthering the science of machine translation.

Established in 2015, Kites was co-founded by Dr. Alex Waibel and Dr. Sebastian Stüker. It began its journey originally developing classroom translation tools for students who needed help understanding English or German spoken by professors during university lectures.

The company has not disclosed the acquisition’s financial terms, but it has verified that Dr. Stüker and the rest of the Kites team would remain in Karlsruhe, Germany. Zoom intends to invest and expand its workforce in Germany and will consider constructing a Research and Development (R&D) facility there in the future.

According to the company’s blog post, Dr. Waibel will become a Zoom Research Fellow and will advise on Zoom’s machine translation research and development.

Dr. Waibel and Dr. Stüker said, “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.”

“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,” commented Mr. Velchamy Sankarlingam, President of Product and Engineering at Zoom.

Related: Amazon’s cloud unit AWS acquires American encrypted messaging app Wickr