Amazon acquires Pittsburgh tech firm-Project Olympus - Carnegie Mellon University

Friday, September 25, 2015

Amazon acquires Pittsburgh tech firm Inc. has acquired a Pittsburgh-based developer of automated text translation software that counted PayPal and Dell Inc. among its customers. Financials were not disclosed.

Safaba Translation Systems LLC, based in Squirrel Hill, is now known as Amazon Machine Translation R&D Group, according to the LinkedIn profile of its co-founder and chief technology officer, Alon Lavie, a research professor at the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

“Safaba became part of the Amazon family,” according to Lavie’s LinkedIn profile, adding that he leads and manages the Amazon Machine Translation R&D Group in Pittsburgh. Lavie was not available for comment.

Bill Newlin, CEO of Sewickley-based Newlin Investment Co., the young company’s principal investor, confirmed to the Business Times on Friday that Safaba was sold to Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) but declined further comment.

Founded in 2009, Safaba, which is Hebrew for “language inside,” received early support from the National Science Foundation and released its first product two years later. It developed technology that allows clients to automate the translation of digital content including websites, marketing material, software products and customer communications. When Newlin Investments led an equity financing round for Safaba in 2013, the amount of which wasn’t announced, Safaba employed 12.

The deal isn’t Amazon’s only acquisition in Pittsburgh this year. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant bought Shoefitr,a developer of technology that helps consumers purchase footwear on line, back in April. Read More»

By: Patty Tascarella