We talked to Václav Hodek of Localazy on how to instantly translate apps to new languages and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Václav Hodek: We live in a small village with my family, so the COVID-19 limitations are not as visible as in the cities if you do not turn on the TV. Luckily, we do not have a TV, so there is less stress in our lives related to the given situation. Of course, we feel the limitations and miss many things that would be considered usual if COVID-19 is not here.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Localazy.
Václav Hodek: I am a serial entrepreneur with skills in software development & business/sales. Localazy is a solution to the challenge I have been facing with one of my recent projects – my mobile app distributed worldwide. I had to manage localization into 30 languages; it was imperative to skyrocket the app to millions of downloads. But it was tedious, and I was unable to find the right app localization solution, so I decided to make one. As a developer, I do things differently sometimes, love automation and hate repetitive work. All those principles are the core ones to Localazy.
How does Localazy innovate?
Václav Hodek: Localazy moves the needle, especially for developers. When you compare software localization solutions available on the market, you will soon find out that a developer-friendly approach is a colossal pain-point. Developers are those who build the software and prepare the internationalization layer. But they are overlooked frequently. The innovation in Localazy comes from a completely different product vision. We don’t want to add feature after feature, but we instead “remove” them. We keep the interface as simple as possible and automate everything we can. There is no point in overflowing users with tons of features. Localazy is here to help you get the job done. Also, we work on unique principles like human-assisted AI translations. AI does all the hard work, and the human touch ensures quality. It further removes the burden from developers’ shoulders, and it’s also cheaper than the professional translators. Well, the pricing, in general, is our strength as we are not trying to lock people in costly monthly tariffs for the basic localization features. Everything necessary for a high-quality translation is free with Localazy. We never sacrifice quality.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Václav Hodek: Localazy’s team is entirely remote from the very beginning. We don’t even live in the same country. And it was like this even in the pre-COVID era. So we all are used to this kind of work, and we have principles in place to make the company work smoothly – synchronization calls shared tasks & documents, etc.
In some aspects, the COVID pandemic accelerated the company. With the limitations around, and being locked in our homes, we spend more time working on the product. Also, typical in-person meetings become Google Meets which is more flexible. But, of course, I miss meeting amazing people in person.
We see a mixed impact on our business. Some users already experience that their apps are facing rapid declination, which may affect their spending on the localization, while others are growing way faster. With the social distance, the new norm of these days, and the rapid shift to digital products and remote tools, the software localization becomes more critical.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Václav Hodek: Localazy began just before the pandemic and COVID-19 came during the talks with investors, so the main concern was the startup’s funding. First off, I preferred to bootstrap the company. Still, we decided to accept an offer for financing by Lighthouse Ventures. Lockdowns considerably affected my other companies and income sources, so I wouldn’t be able to put enough money in to move so fast. It was an excellent decision to connect with a strong partner.
Aside from Localazy, a few years ago, I invested in several companies owned by a friend of mine. They connect to tourism, and they collapsed. It was a hard decision to let people go after so many years. Hopefully, it will be possible to rebuild the companies again when the pandemic is behind us. The lesson learned is that postponing the hard decision is terrible. Once you know that it has to come, act. Bleeding longer and losing resources can significantly affect the ability to rise again.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Václav Hodek: First and foremost, it is my family: my wife and two baby boys. No matter what, spending time with them is refreshing, and helps me to keep going. Great anxiety release is a daily workout routine and my team members with whom I can share my concerns. We are very transparent, and honestly, it’s the best team I ever worked with so far. I know I can rely on them and stay assured they do what they should. Anytime and from anywhere.
At a rapidly evolving startup, there is a lot of work to be done, and we are always working. Sometimes, it helps to forget about the situations around us. Sometimes, it’s a source of more stress and anxiety. A few minutes with a great sci-fi novel and a cup of delicious coffee is a part of my daily routine to rest for a while.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Václav Hodek: Our competitors are software localization platform providers who forget to think about developers. When they prepare their integrations, functions, and pricing policy—they sometimes forget about usability, productivity and cost/value ratio. Localazy was born because of real need; it is a dogfooded solution, which aligns with market needs not being met by current market owners.
Your final thoughts?
Václav Hodek: The current situation is challenging; hard for many people and companies, but keeping optimism is essential. If your current business is collapsing under the pressure of limitations, take it, as an opportunity to stop and think.
“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, and others build windmills.”