i-DNS already has core technology for the multilingual registration and input of domain names. What Jerusalem-based Slangsoft brings to the partnership is its Intelligent Text Input and Display layer, which allows the input of text in any of 47 languages through the user interface on any device, from PCs to mobile telephones and PDAs, regardless of the language of the underlying operating system.
The intelligent aspect of the solution refers to its predictive abilities. From the first few letters, the software makes an educated guess at what the word is, whether it is being entered through a normal keyboard or a mobile telephone keypad with several letters per key.
"This is based on an algorithm related to the rules of the language and the frequency of usage information for different words," said Arie Mazur, Slangsoft's chief executive and founder. The software, which is less than half a megabyte in size, has a learning feature, said Mazur, which adjusts the frequency of usage data to adapt to the user.
Domain names are just one area that Slangsoft is targeting. Mazur is aiming to make Slangsoft's technology the cross-platform standard for predictive multilingual text input. His business model is pure B2B.
"We sell to appliance developers, platform developers, operating system developers and application developers. Half of the PDA appliance makers are negotiating with us and are looking at our technology," he said. Future releases will include support for handwriting recognition.
The company, which was founded in 1998 and employs 40 people, is privately held. Mazur would not reveal names of investors or the extent of the investment. While declining to disclose figures, Mazur said that the company is already generating hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenues a quarter through licensing the software to clients including Hewlett Packard, AltaVista and LookSmart.
An IPO had been planned, but Mazur changed course. Now, in contrast to many startups looking for quick exits, he intends to eschew flotations and acquisitions in favor of retaining control and building the company up himself. Slangsoft will open American and Asia/Pacific offices early in 2001.