500 Startups Alum Dakwak Launches Freemium Model For SMB Site Translation

Web site translation and localization platform Dakwak, which we first profiled in July 2013 when it was part of 500 Startups’ sixth class, has launched a new freemium model to attract small- to medium-sized businesses. The startup hopes that the simplicity of its translation service and search-engine optimization for sites across different languages will convince companies to upgrade to paid plans that start at $50 per month.

Dakwak has also signed deals with Web security provider CloudFlare and domain hosting service Go.Co to market its services to their customers. On CloudFlare, Dakwak’s free app, which performs search-engine optimized translations, is now available for download.

Waheed Barghouthi , founder and CEO of Dakwak, says the freemium model is meant to position Dakwak as an attractive alternative for SMBs that want something more powerful than Google Translate’s Website Translator widgets, which allows site visitors to instantly translate text into different languages, but don’t want to invest in Smartlink’s enterprise translation software.

The incentive for customers to upgrade to paid plans include the ability to host translated Web sites at their own domain (free translated sites have a Dakwak URL), more languages and professional translation services in addition to machine translation.

Dakwak has so far acquired 50 paying customers in different sectors and countries. Barghouthi hopes the new freemium model and deals with CloudFlare and Go.Co will allow Dakwak to add 10,000 paying customers in the next six months. Half that number will allow the startup to break even, he says. Dakwak’s next plans include finding more distribution partners, including hosting companies. The company plans to close a new round of fundraising by the end of this year, which allow it to hire more people and expand its marketing and business development.