By @SimonCocking. Answers from Skiwo, by CEO Gautam Chandna

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

It’s not easy to understand someone if you don’t speak their language. While most of us can avoid uncomfortable situations, there are many who need help in understanding and being understood. Refugees, immigrants, expats, businesses, and many more people are traveling around the world and facing language barriers. Unlike the overseas exploration of the world a few centuries ago, with the internet being so readily available – Skiwo can help them with a moment’s notice.

Skiwo connects interpreters with businesses, government organisations and individuals by providing an online platform. We aim to improve market conditions for both interpreters and businesses that need to hire them. We have built an open platform where everyone can join, connect directly and work together easily and efficiently. We want to bring down the language barriers.

How are you different?

Skiwo is not an interpretation services agency. Skiwo provides a platform where an interpreter, or anyone who can speak two or more languages, can offer their services. They can do so at their own schedule and at their own price. Businesses can use Skiwo to find the best interpreter for their assignment. They can decide the qualification level they need, and can chat with an interpreter before hiring them. If you really need an interpreter from Japan who can speak Norwegian – then all you have to do is post an assignment and Skiwo will connect you. In fact, we can connect you with someone living in Japan as well.

By providing the link between interpreters and those who need a voice, Skiwo aims to be a transparent and open marketplace for everyone. In addition to these options, Skiwo provides for high quality video meetings as well. Skiwo has an advanced video communication service that supports Skype for Business, Cisco/Tandberg (SIP/H.323), WebRTC web browser and mobile phone. You can use Skiwo by simply calling [email protected] from your SIP enabled meeting rooms. Cisco, Tandberg, Videonor, Pexip, Acano, and many more services are supported.

Why will the company / product do well?

Skiwo’s all-in-one platform allows anyone with interpretation skill to sign up and get assignments from anywhere. Also businesses can cut down additional interpretation costs, such as travelling and accommodation, as the assignments can be covered over video or phone.

Skiwo does not charge interpreters for their service, but pays them 100% of the amount quoted by them for their assignments. As an open marketplace, Skiwo does not set the price – but lets the market decide for itself.

The global climate is changing due to immigration and refugee crisis, which has increased the need for interpretation. For example, refugees are entitled to receive information in their own language, and finding an interpreter locally for the task might be challenging. Skiwo provides the possibility to not only find an interpreter globally, but to conduct the assignment also online using video on phone, tablet, or PC.

Where are you based?

We’re based in Oslo, Norway.

When was the company launched?

The company was established on 28th January 2016.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

Skiwo has been built to solve a real problem. The problem is growing bigger every day, and Skiwo is working hard to catch up.

The Private beta product was launched in 8 weeks, and the Public Beta product was launched in 10 weeks after that. By working hard and staying focused, Skiwo has gained the trust of Innovation Norway.

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?

We want to build an interpreter community, who will help those who need a voice. We start from Norway and aim at businesses and government organisations, but eventually we want to bring the interpreters available for everyone, anywhere.

Today, we are looking for people who can speak multiple languages, both certified as interpreters and with an education in interpretation.

Tell us about your team?

We are a small team of 6 in Oslo, Norway. A lot of the product engineering work is outsourced to various countries, and we have worked with a large number of experts and 3rd party companies to build and launch our product.

What are your long term plans for your product / company?

Connecting everyone in the world is a challenge that has been accepted, and is being actively worked on by several major players on the internet. Skiwo believes the next step after connecting people, is understanding them in the offline world.

Skiwo’s long term plan is to use technology to bridge our real-world gaps between cultures, languages, and other artificial social barriers that keep us from really understanding one another.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

The team at Skiwo has a large range of gadgets. Among the six tables here at the Oslo Science Park, we have laptops, computers, androids, iphones, cameras, webcams, tablets, phones, Cisco/Tandberg video systems, routers, and even a trusty old Nokia 110. And let’s not forget the long list of cloud based services that power Skiwo, and keep it running 24/7.

What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?

We’d really like to build virtual meeting rooms using virtual reality headsets, allowing interpreters and the people they are interpreting to get a personal touch. This is quite far into the future, but we’re excited to bring people together over the internet and can’t wait to get into the service industry of the VR world.

How do people get in touch with you?

We are available at [email protected], and on +47 400 55 945.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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