Fanny is one of the co-founder of OneSky, we have many common friends on facebook & google+, that reminds me a lot of other successful local web starups here in hong kong. Do you think I should do more interview like this? Let me know here.
When did you first found the OneSky?
F: We started working on OneSky since January this year.
Private beta was launched in May and we (Loki & I) flew to US to gather product feedbacks because we believe only a good product can sell. We even got up at 6am in the freezing morning to talk to the developers who were queueing for WWDC. After speaking to more than 20+ companies and 100+ developers, we came back to HK and quickly improved the product.
Public beta was launched in August. I flew to US since then to do customer development and partnership here in Silicon Valley. Our team also visit different countries for developer meetups and gathering product feedbacks. Last month, OneSky is invited as the representative for Hong Kong to attend a entrepreneurship conference in Japan, which has 1,500+ attendees.
Why did you found OneSky?
F: We want to solve the problem of language barrier faced by many apps and site developers. Put it in other way, we want to make translation and localization totally “painless” with help of streamlined localization process and complete translation offerings (agencies, crowdsource, machine). Mobile and Internet are probably the best global distribution channels now. But if your app or site is not localized, you even can’t say “Hi” to your potential users in other countries.
The very original idea comes from one of our co-founders, Greg. He ran a social network for book lovers which is very popular in Europe. One day the uses requested to add European languages such as Italian but the site is only available in English and Greg simply didn’t have time and resource to do that. Greg created a shared document online which allowed users help to translation – English on the left, Italian translation on the right. It worked well BUT only in the first day. There were lots of arguments coming up about whose translations should be chosen. At that time, Greg built a very simple voting system for users to vote on the translation and it worked! Right now the site is in 17 languages and all are translated by users.
So we thought even a small site like this have such need and surely this is not the only site in the world, why don’t we take this idea and work on it to support more platforms? So that more people can be benefited from localization with a dead-simple-to-use tool.
The site was titled “1-click to 70+ language translation”. how’s that possible?
F: Actually we are adding more languages and soon will be “80+ languages” 🙂
Instead of hooking up our customers to one single agency, we create a Global Agency Network, which includes many professional translation agencies around the world. You can find a Japan agency to do Japanese translation and a Russia agency fo Russian.
We tested and interviewed all agency partners before we sign partnership. As we are very specialized in mobile apps, games and sites, we make sure all of them have experience or even specialized in these fields.
After founding OneSky, what was your main takeaway?
F: The world can be much more than AO/EO, investment bank, Big 4 (the largest 4 auditing firms), finance.
We learn to think more (different possibilities), think deep (drill in different possibilities), plan better (maximize the use of limited resources) and act super fast (execution is the key to success).
Are you happy with the result of OneSky?
F: Yes and no.
I am happy that OneSky is on the right direction solving a hard problem as our current customers around the world are very happy about our service. And more and more people see the importance of localization from the globalization trend.
But I am not satisfied with current stage as I do believe OneSky can go much further and help more people to spread out their awesome ideas around the world. We are a small startup but we are super dedicated. So we choose to dedicate resources on products and customers instead of fancy advertisements and marketing campaigns. It would be great if we can get more media exposure in different places as that can surely help us to reach out more.
Do you want to share one last thing about OneSky?
F: Hong Kong is an international metropolitan city with a fusion of eastern and western cultures. OneSky is the international startup starting from HK and with the vision to bridge the gap of different cultures starting from what we use everyday – mobile and internet. We hope to help spread out awesome ideas, experience and happiness around the world.