UMD Alums Empower Content Creators to Conquer Global Audiences

Startup Lingo AI transforms content creation through multilingual reach
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In the fast-paced realm of content creation, University of Maryland alums Ian Costello (B.S. '22, computer science; B.S. '22, mathematics) and Pranav Shikarpur (B.S. ’23, computer science and mathematics) emerged as a lifeline to influencers with their innovative startup Lingo AI. Armed with a passion for technology and a vision to break language barriers, Costello and Shikarpur harness the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to propel content creators to new heights.

Lingo AI's innovative video translation platform equips social media influencers with the tools they need to expand their brand across the globe and grow their audiences. Partnering with 10 leading creators boasting an astonishing 25 million subscribers and over a billion monthly views, Lingo AI looks to redefine content creation.

"At Lingo AI, language should never be a barrier to creativity and expression. Our mission is to empower content creators to connect with audiences worldwide, irrespective of linguistic boundaries,” Costello said. “By providing them with seamless multilingual translations, we are unlocking new realms of possibility for creators to make their mark on the global stage. So, our goal is to give creators all the tools that they need to be able to grow their brands."

To ensure quality and accuracy in translations, Lingo AI employs a unique two-pronged approach. The company leverages a vast array of advanced AI and traditional content verification tools supplemented by human verification, resulting in refined and reliable translations.

"A lot of things that we've been developing try to capture all of the nuances and contexts that may arise in foreign languages. If someone gives one sentence, it's hard to know the correct translation because of lack of background information, but when you kind of give these translation systems more context, it can do a better job,” Costello shared. “Secondly, we do human reviews. All the videos go through a review process where the final output is checked. Hence human and AI assistance allows our software to be one of the more reliable options on the market.”

Costello’s time at UMD played a pivotal role in shaping both him and his startup. The thriving entrepreneurial community at UMD left an indelible mark on his career path.

"UMD was a catalyst for my entrepreneurial journey. The community's innovative spirit and unwavering support for young visionaries fueled my passion,” Costello expressed. “I was always surrounded by people who were starting something. The scopes of their endeavors were from small businesses to other large ones that raised tens of millions of dollars. Such a scene is critical for up-and-coming students who want to find their path and gain much-needed inspiration."

Lingo AI won the $10,000 second-place prize in the 2023 Pitch Dingman Competition. Looking ahead, the company plans to establish more partnerships with content creators and provide content creators with even more exciting solutions.

“Long term, we would like to build different tools for creators and have an extensive suite of tools that gives creators everything they need to be successful,” Costello shared. “We want to be the ones that creators go to be able to go from just being someone who posts a video once a week to being able to do this as a full-time job and treat their brand as a business.”

As Lingo AI continues to evolve, its dedication to supporting content creators remains unwavering, ushering in a new era of multilingual content and boundless possibilities for creators worldwide.

—Story by Samuel Malede Zewdu, CS Communications 

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