How Speechpad Goes to Market

speechpad_logoI recently interviewed David Feinleib, cofounder and CEO of Speechpad, about how the company goes to market.

About Speechpad

Speechpad is the leading provider of transcription and translation services for Video SEO, captioning and subtitling. Video SEO transcriptions from Speechpad help companies drive more traffic to their web sites. Speechpad’s captioning and subtitling services are used by some of the world’s largest media companies.

Speechpad also provides transcription for insurance, legal, financial services and general business customers. Speechpad uses an innovative, patent-protected workflow platform to deliver the highest quality transcriptions at the lowest cost.

About David

David Feinleib is CEO and a co-founder of Speechpad. He founded Speechpad to address his own needs for high quality audio and video transcription and has grown the company into the leading provider in the space. Prior to Speechpad, David was a General Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures and a serial entrepreneur with successful exits to EMC and HP. David holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from Cornell University and is a sought-after industry speaker on crowd-sourcing, Big Data and entrepreneurship.

5.0 Minutes on How Speechpad Goes to Market


Hugh: David thanks for joining me. It’s great to talk to you, or, start to talk to you about how you guys go to market. David is the, one of the founders of SpeechPad, a great little company that’s growing really nicely. David, why don’t you start out by telling us a little about what Speechpad does, why it’s special and who you sell to?

David: Well thanks, Hugh. Great to be on your show and I’m really excited to talk with you. Speechpad is a leading transcription, captioning, and translation service, so what we do is we take audio and video of all kinds. That means business audio and video, movies and T.V. shows, lots of different kinds of audio and video, the stuff that you find posted on the web for marketing purposes. All that stuff, we take that and convert it into text. And what that means if everything from people who are hearing impaired can now understand and watch T.V. shows and movies, to people who want to improve their marketing by getting better search results in search engines like Google. By having that text with the video, it makes that content easier to search and to find and that can really drive a lot more traffic to people’s websites. So in a nutshell, we take audio and video, turn it into text and do that for a whole host of reasons.

Hugh: No, that’s great. And how do you actually do it? Tell us about some of the mechanics.  You produce very high quality transcriptions: I use SpeechPad and you do a great job.

David: Well, thanks. Glad to hear it and we love having happy clients and customers. What we do is we take in audio and video in all kinds of different formats, and one of the things we discovered in building this company was just how hard it is for people to take audio and video and get it into a format that a transcription, translation company can work with it in. So, we made it super easy for people to upload audio and video in virtually any format. They upload that to our website, some of our larger customers use our API to integrate with us and upload just massive, massive amounts of audio and video. Once it’s in the site we work with it in two ways. One is we have real live human beings doing what they do best. They use their ears, they listen to the audio and video, they type, and they turn it into text. So that’s kind of 50% of the equation. The other 50% of the equation is the machine, where we are automatically analyzing all of that text that is produced and rating it, and developing reputations of all these different folks so that we can really provide a super high quality product while still keeping the cost at a reasonable point. And the goal there is really super high quality, lots of volume and keeping cost a point where we can really expand this in the market.

Hugh:  So tell me how you go to market? How do you sell your product or what, do you go through channels, do you have partnerships, do you have sales guys, how do you do that?

David: Yeah, a mix of all those things. First and foremost, we love getting referrals from happy customers. We started out by asking people if they like the service, would you tell a few friends about it? And it’s amazing what happens when you just ask people to do that, if they like the product. So what we did is we started getting these referrals from these customers. Sites like Mixergy, with Andrew Warner, which is a great entrepreneurial oriented website. Those sites and those people started referring other customers to us. And through that, we’ve built up a lot of traffic and a lot of new customers who then referred more and more customers to the site. So that’s kind of, half the business is just referrals. Deliver a great product, do what you promised to do and people will send more business your way; so we love that.

The other half of the business, we do have an affiliate program where we work with some companies and partners and so on that I would consider to be professional partners, professional affiliates. That’s really their business, they’re looking to work with us in that manner. And then we also do direct sales, so we have either leads come in that require an act of sales effort, and that might be because a customer have unique requirements, they have questions about the input or output formats, specialized requirements, multiple languages, what have you. So that might be in inbound case. For an outbound case, we actively go out to larger companies and talk to them about our service and our product offering. So it’s the mix of all those things in order to grow the business.

Hugh: And, of course, nothing like referrals to get you going. Where do you have to work hard, give us a little sort of, what wisdom have you gleaned from your sales . . .

David: Yeah, you know, there’s nothing great customer service. That’s one big thing I’ve learned in this. I remember, you know, I still personally see the inbound customer emails. We have terrific account managers, and a great accounts teams and so on that are managing these accounts and working with people on a day to day basis, but I love looking at inbound customers requests and customer feedback, things like that. I remember I was on a trip out of town on a Friday night and there I was on my iPhone and I was looking and I saw, now this is a three day weekend, and I’m responding to this potential customer. You know, here’s the pricing and yes, we can take care of this. He had special requirements and finally, I’m about to go out of cell service and I said, “I’m really sorry, but, one of my colleagues is going to have to pick this up with you in the morning” and I get this email back and he goes, “I was so excited to get your response so quickly on a Friday night, it was amazing.” And to me, I was just thinking that’s just what we signed up for.

We’re here 24/7 for these customers. We’ve had customers where they’ve said, ‘Look, I need something special by tomorrow, can you make it happen?’ And that’s the job, that the niche to the business, is to be there for a customer.
So, I think it’s easy for people to talk about delivering great customer service, and I think everyone aspires to deliver great customer service, but it’s actually really hard to do that. And to instill that into the whole organization. Every account manager, the development team. What are the priorities? Well if a customer’s having some issue or some question or some problem, get right on that and make sure we get back to them. And I think one of the big things we learned is begin super responsive, getting back to people, just really quickly, is so important in this business. And I think that’s served us really well.

Hugh: David, that’s a great lesson in how to sell. Well, listen. I really appreciate you taking time with us. This is David Feinleib, co-founder and CEO of Speechpad. David, thanks so much.

David: Thanks, Hugh, and I hope all your viewers and listeners will check us out at

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