Waygo, the startup behind a mobile app that instantly translates Chinese characters into English just by hovering a smartphone camera over it, has raised $900,000 in a seed round of funding as it seeks to expand its supported languages and move beyond iOS.

Investors that participated in this round of funding include 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures and AngelVest among others. Waygo intends to use the money to launch an Android version of the app (currently available for iOS only) by early fall this year, and move beyond Chinese to start supporting translations from Japanese and Korean into English.

Waygo graduated from 500 Startups’ fifth batch early this year, when it was billed as one of the most promising startups by TNW. It then went on to win the “Most Promising Startup” award at Echelon, a startup conference held in Singapore last month. The app makes use of optical character recognition (OCR) technology to allow users (mainly travelers) who are in a foreign land to simply hover their phone over any Chinese text and it will display it in English.

The app has currently passed 45,000 downloads and is starting to monetize with an in-app unlimited per-language translation purchase currently on sale for $4.99 (previously $14.99).

Waygo founder Ryan Rogowski told TNW that the app is in a position to scale now after two years of developing this patented technology, as the app can be tweaked for more languages. Even though the app only allows for Chinese to be translated into English right now, he says that by late winter this year, the reverse will be available — and could be useful for the many affluent travelers from Asia who are visiting Western countries.

➤ Waygo | iOS

Headline image via Thinkstock

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