Featured BizSpark Startup - TranscribeMe

Today's Featured BizSpark Startup is TranscribeMe from New Zealand.

Who gives you get a free turnkey cloud solution? The Microsoft BizSpark startup program does. TranscribeMe founder Alexei Dunavev says that without Microsoft Azure, his worldwide startup business wouldn't have been possible.

It takes a special dedication – and a really terrific idea – to take a Startup Weekend idea and turn it into a profitable company. But that’s exactly what Alexei Dunayev and Victor Obolonkin did after winning Startup Weekend Auckland 2011, sponsored by Microsoft. Their idea? Convert voice to text very quickly and very accurately in an encrypted and confidential environment using real people instead of a speech recognition program.

By December 2011, the partners had raised enough seed money to launch TranscribeMe, a worldwide transcription business with an infrastructure built on Microsoft Azure. The startup gained free access to Azure through the Microsoft BizSpark program. Today, the company employs more than 50,000 transcribers, processes more than a half-million micro tasks every month and is experiencing growth at approximately 45 percent monthly.

“Being able to easily scale up our server infrastructure has really helped us support that growth,” says Dunayev. “Without Azure, I don’t think our business would even have been possible a few years ago. It’s really been a turnkey solution for us.”

Dunayev says that Azure is a fully managed platform that TranscribeMe could work with and not worry about integrating future technology considerations.

“Azure has been the cornerstone around which all the different pieces of technology at TranscribeMe come together,” he says.

The web service provides mobile devices connectivity, the client and transcription portals allow customers and transcribers to login and manage their audio recordings and transcriptions, and the actual speech processing technology is produced through various pieces of Azure. The company uses Blob service, Azure SQL, Queue Service, Azure hosting and Azure Access Control Service (ACS).

“Azure is highly flexible and scalable,” explains Dunayev. “It’s an easy platform to manage and perhaps most important, it is a secure platform. It’s also one of the latest and the most advanced cloud solutions currently available. Along with the massive intellectual backing of Microsoft, it is hard to see why one wouldn’t give Azure a shot.”

In the world of startups, says Dunayev, speed to market is critical.

“The only thing you can’t buy is time,” he says. “Relying on Azure really gave us the benefit of being able to quickly get to market.”