Meet The 6 Global Investors Behind Our Seed Round

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So why have we raised a Seed round?

We are pleased to announce the closing of our Seed round today with $1M funding from global investors, including Telefonica, Wayra, Loyal VC, Startup AI and several high-profile investors. 

We’re thrilled to announce our Seed raise just as we expand into translation and collaboration for teams. We set out with the vision to make content truly global, and the support we’ve received so far is why we can take this next big step with our seed round. 

This Seed round is earlier than expected because of our exponential growth over the past year, thanks to the rise of online content. The growth has attracted interest from global investors to accelerate us even further with translation, too.

With over 65,000 users and more than 7,000 businesses using our platform, the Seed round funding will support our growth, the expansion of our team, and further development and improvement of our transcription and translation technologies. 

Our mission remains the same, to empower every creator and organisation to maximise their content and enable everyone to access subtitled and translated content.

We’re so fortunate to have met the investors and advisors who have backed our Seed round, and more importantly, supported our vision to make content truly global. Alongside the usual Seed round funding announcement, we wanted to share the story of how we met some of our investors and what it means to me as Subly CEO and Founder. 

Our Investors 

When we were looking for investors, we weren’t only looking for funding; we were looking for believers, those who believed our vision and had the expertise to support it. Our new investors align closely with the values and vision of Subly, bringing with them experience from around the globe and across sectors, with a specific focus on SaaS and tech.

Our Seed round highlights the confidence of new and existing investors in our vision, our team, the product and technology we are developing. 

So here are just a few of our biggest supporters... 

Debora Bielecki, Seed Investor and Advisor

Debora has held senior roles at HP and is on the board at Bank of Canada and Loyal VC. She is a trusted advisor for various organisations. 

She discovered Subly in December 2020, when her and I were presenting at the Loyal VC Demo day. She was a special guest at the event when I was pitching Subly. 

Debora was someone I immediately wanted to speak with after the event. Her experience across various sales and strategy roles, combined with her understanding of the problem we are trying to solve, was an instant conversation starter for us. 

“Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure to meet many businesses and entrepreneurs. Every once in a while, you find a gem. Investing in Subly just made sense.” said Debora Bielecki. 

As this market is growing daily and subtitles are becoming part of our virtual lives, it just made sense to invest in Subly and their leader Holly, who has the drive and energy to lead this sector and business growth globally.” 

Her support and her understanding of accessible content at a mass scale has been vital. We are grateful to have met Debora because of her involvement in this round, her genuine enthusiasm for global content and translation, and her support, including approaching Diversity and Inclusion teams within several enterprises.

AI Startup Incubator, Seed Investors

We had the honour of being selected to pitch at the Wolves Summit in March 2021. We were one of the finalists in the competition and then had the chance to pitch alongside other startups to win investment from Startup AI Incubator. 

We pitched, and we won! It quickly led us to start a conversation with Angelo Burgarello and the team, and we knew straight away that Startup AI’s experience would be an aid to the future of Subly. 

“We know there is no shortcut to success, however thanks to Subly now we have a shortcut to video transcription, translation and subtitles,” said Angelo Burgarello, Managing Partner at AI Startup Incubator. 

I am excited about welcoming Startup AI as one of our newest investors, especially because of their expertise in AI speech recognition. Angelo and the team often take a customised approach to help startups on their path to growth, and we can’t wait to grow further after this Seed round with their help!

Rob Atkinson, Pre-Seed Investor and Advisor

Rob is a senior industry leader who has previously held positions at Adshel, Clear Channel and headed up the Australian Radio Network.

Rob and I connected in 2019 when I was curious about the applications of Subly for out-of-home agencies and within the podcasting sector. His enthusiasm, knowledge and support from the start were what we needed, and his advice has been crucial to our growth.

Multiple caffeine-fuelled meetings in London later, Rob helped with trusted introductions who went on to help validate the Subly idea. This led him to invest with us in our Pre-Seed round, too. 

“Since I started working with the Subly team in 2020, they’ve seen great growth in users and paid customers in key and underserved markets,” said Rob Atkinson. “The team has found product-market fit and have great insights into their key users, enabling them to build features and technologies for the future of Subly to benefit accessibility of content globally.”

We are so grateful for Rob’s commitment to Subly. He has helped us grow and provided invaluable advice throughout the journey. 

Loyal VC, Pre-Seed and Seed Investors 

Kamal Hassan and I met through the Founder Institute programme in February 2020. Loyal VC only invests in the top companies recommended by the programme leaders, and Subly was one of those companies after completing the programme. 

“We have been following Subly as shareholders for over a year now. Holly made it easy for us to help lead a follow-on round by just delivering business basics, acquiring good customers at low cost with a simple solution that solved their problems,” said Kamal Hassan, Partner at Loyal VC. 

Kamal and the Loyal VC network of Advisors are precisely who we needed, and as we have scaled, the support and advice from his team has been invaluable in helping us grow.

Loyal VC supported us during our Pre-Seed round and then decided to follow on as our Lead Investor in the Seed round. Loyal VC has been an incredible support in these early stages, bringing capital to scale further and always helping to find a trusted advisor when needed.

Andy Ayim, Seed Investor and Advisor

Andy is a Board Advisor, Investor and Director at The Angel Investing School, having previously held positions at Ernst & Young and Elixirr Partners.

One of our existing investors connected me with Andy, and when we met, Andy immediately knew the problem we needed to solve from his own experience with his online content. He really saw how accessible and inclusive content needed to be solved at a global level, too.  

"As a content creator, when I create video content for socials and my online courses at The Angel Investing School, I am always conscious about inclusivity and widening my reach,” said Andy Ayim.

“That's how I first learned about how effortless it is to use Subly for all my subtitles. I was sold as a customer and had the privilege to join as an investor too." 

Andy is someone who has helped us to scale with his exceptional knowledge of product development and thanks to his previous start-up experience. 

Wayra (Telefonica), Seed Investors

Wayra is Telefónica's Open Innovation Hub with a presence in 10 countries. Wayra is the largest global Open Innovation Hub, run by entrepreneurs. As the pandemic accelerated, the need for digital inclusivity, accessibility and translation solutions only grew, so partnering with Wayra (Telefónica) could not have come at a better time.

As pioneers in digital solutions that support consumers and businesses, their vast reach, scale and support will be crucial for us when we take the next steps towards our global mission.

“At Wayra (Telefónica), we are witnessing rapid growth in the digital content creation market, a vital component in any online strategy. The Subly team stands out for offering a simple and quick tool to help all those content creators who need to professionalise and make their work more effective,” said Luisa Rubio, Head of Wayra X. 

I am so delighted to have Wayra (Telefónica) on board as a Seed round investor, and more importantly, a strategic partner for us. They will help to reach even more digital communities globally that need our translation, transcription and subtitling solution more than ever. 

What is our Seed funding for?

Every step of the way, we have been strategic about when to take the next big step. Our company is growing fast, and this Seed round will support the team’s growth and the continued building and improvement of the subtitling, transcription and translation tools we offer. 

The service we offer and the experience of our users is most important to us. That’s precisely why it’ll remain a key focus for the Subly team. We’ll add new features around our core offering to increase the speed of repurposing content. We’ll support more teams and individuals where they have a real need to create more global control whilst saving time and budget with Subly. 

What’s next?

There’s so much to come!

We love sharing with you because your feedback helps us continuously grow and improve every day. Our community is why we exist, and that is why we’re so committed to making content as easy as possible for you. 

We have big plans and goals to reach in the next few years to come, and this Seed round is helping us on the next step of the journey. 

A big thank you to everyone in the Subly community, whether a free user, paid customer, ambassador, advocate, investor or advisor. Thank you for being on the journey with us, from a single idea, to real subtitling, transcription and translation tools, helping over 65,000 creators and 7,000 businesses so far in subtitling, translating and repurposing their content. This is just the beginning for Subly.

We’re excited about this next chapter, with more incredible investors as part of the Subly family on the journey to make content truly global.

Want to go global with us and start create accessible and engaging content? Click the image below to get started.

Holly Stephens
CEO & Founder

Holly founded Subly in 2019 with a vision to make subtitling videos a simple 4-step process.

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