VerbalizeIt Translates Blue Ocean Challenge Entry Into $250K

How do you say “big winner” in Portuguese? Or Mandarin?

VerbalizeIt, a startup that connects businesses with translators from around the world, was the big winner at the Colorado State University Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge on Saturday. The Boulder, CO-based startup took home the top prize of $250,000, along with access to mentoring and other professional services.

VerbalizeIt is an eight-person company and Techstars grad that contracts with 24,000 translators who are fluent in more than 150 languages, the company says on its website. The startup works with businesses to provide custom translations for marketing campaigns, customer service material, and legal documents.

The company’s pitch to potential clients is that there are types of messages and nuances in language that only human speakers can comprehend and transmit, and using VerbalizeIt’s translators will create translations superior to those generated by computers. The company promises it can have most translations completed and reviewed by a second translator within 48 hours. In addition to translating written content, the company can translate audio and video presentations and phone calls.

Extrude to Fill of Loveland, CO, took second place, which earned it a $25,000 cash prize. The company said it has developed a new method of injection molding to create plastic parts at a lower cost than standard techniques.

The challenge also featured a separate track for collegiate startups that was won by Native, a Boulder-based startup creating an app that connects users with personal travel assistants who can plan trips and handle things like reserving hotel rooms and booking flights. Native went through Techstars last year and won the University of Colorado-Boulder New Venture Challenge in 2014 when it was named Varsity and focused on suggesting activities to college students. Native took home a cash prize of $20,000.

This is the Blue Ocean Challenge’s second year. The competition was founded by and is financially backed by OtterBox founder and chairman Curt Richardson and his wife, Nancy. OtterBox’s headquarters is in Fort Collins, the home of Colorado State University.

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