We're continuing our series of brief interviews with companies we ran into last week at VentureNet. Today's interview is with Barry Su, of Tyloon (www.tyloon.com), an interesting, El Monte-based local search startup that is looking to address the local, multi-lingual search market. The company's services allow anyone to search for companies in the US in English, Spanish, or Chinese, and get the results back in the corresponding language. The company's approach differs from most search engines, which have carved up language silos for different users. Instead, Tyloon makes it possible to search for the same Yellow Pages listings your favorite language. I spoke with Barry Su, President of the firm, about the service and how's it's different from other search engines.
Ben Kuo: What is Tyloon, and what do you bring to the search market?
Barry Su: Tyloon is the first and only local search engine with multilingual support. Multilingual means that nationwide US business information can be searched in English, Spanish, and Chinese. We're also going to be adding more languages. As compared to other local search engines, say SuperPages.com, we offer a search of businesses in any language. With other services, you can only search a single language, and they have separate pipelines for English businesses, and have another pipeline in Spanish, for the Spanish community. Our difference is that we're the only one in the world that allows people to search for the same businesses in both languages. If you go to a search engine like Google and search for car repair, or a doctor in Chinese, you get search results from China. That's because they are collecting information on the Internet in Chinese, which only includes businesses in China--because in the U.S., 99 percent of the business information is in English. That's why there's no way for a big search engine like Google or Yahoo to gather that information. We solve this issue and allow people to search in English, Spanish, or Chinese for the same local business information.
Ben Kuo: Where's the technology from and where'd you come up with the idea?
Barry Su: We have been in the web hosting and web design business for seven years. We have lots of customers and merchants, and we know what their needs are. We figured out that we could build this multilingual support and that we'd be very unique. Another thing is we are going to roll out Tyloon China the end of this month, we are doing the data conversion now, so that Americans can search for Chinese business listings in English. The problem is that all of the big search engines in China, Yellow Pages, even Baidu.com, the Chinese search engine, there is no way to search using English. Right now, it's very hard for someone who speaks English to find Chinese businesses, and this allows them to find them without knowing Chinese.
Ben Kuo: So let me understand this, if people search for listings in English, do they get back English results?
Barry Su: Yes, if you search for businesses in English, you get the results back in English. If you search for businesses in Chinese, you get the results back in Chinese.
Ben Kuo: So do you actually have technology that does the translation?
Barry Su: We do manual translation and have a database that converts business words. We have a database that converts company names and addresses between languages. We are also working on other languages like French, German, and then Japanese.
Ben Kuo: How do you make money?
Barry Su: We charge merchants to list on Tyloon. We offer a reasonable price, and are looking for more merchants to list on the site. For the end user, it's free.
Ben Kuo: Thanks for the interview!