OneWorld plans to let companies easily update their multilingual websites.

Back to Contents of Issue: May 2000

by Daniel Scuka

CEO Karl Hahne
With the help of some hoped-for first-round funding, Oneworld Internet Technologies aims to simplify the task of creating, managing, and updating large-scale multilingual websites -- a source of headaches for many companies serving international markets. The firm, so new it hasn't been formally incorporated yet, will offer its WeaveWeb software solution, which helps automate the processes involved in managing sites presented in different languages.

While WeaveWeb can't replace human translators, it does automate workflow and task assignment, an important feature considering how many times a site gets updated (pricing, availability, shipping info, et cetera). Multiply those updates by the number of languages involved and WeaveWeb starts making sense. "I'm not sure how big the market is, but I am certain there is a huge business space for this," CEO Karl Hahne says. "We've started putting out feelers to potential clients, and they've finally started saying, 'Yes, we would like something like that.'" The company is aiming to sell the solution to ISPs, Web design houses, system integrators, and resellers.

By taking content and recreating it in a more structured fashion, the solution can also accept existing or legacy content for processing into another language. "What WeaveWeb resolves is the whole issue of changes made to an original [source] site -- often English -- that have to be reflected in seven or eight other languages," Hahne says.

If you're thinking this sounds ripe for the ASP model, you and Hahne are on the same wavelength. "Ideally, WeaveWeb will run as an ASP, meaning the client goes ahead and builds the original site and [then WeaveWeb] goes there, analyzes the site, and then duplicates it in one or more target languages."

After his first-ever pitch at a local startup forum in March, Hahne expected one or two VCs to come knocking, but as of press time he'd received nary a nibble. "We're looking for $4.5 million," Hahne says. That's not an impossible sum, but perhaps this rough gem of a company will have to wait a little longer. "Eventually I'm thinking about doing an IPO," Hahne says. "I want to stay my own boss -- that's the exit strategy I'd offer to any VC."

A sound approach -- in any language.

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