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1Mby1M Deal Radar 2015: GMR Transcription Services, Inc., Tustin, CA

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 22nd 2015

GMR Transcription Services, Inc. (GMRT) is a leading US-based provider of transcription and translation services. Its main value proposition is that it offers accuracy, security and speed without jeopardizing cost. It ensures 100% confidentiality and security as it relies solely on people based in the US.

GMRT was founded in 2004 by serial entrepreneur and marketing professional Ajay Prasad. Prior to GMRT, he had worked for some of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies. His areas of expertise include marketing management, business development, consumer research, market analysis and strategic planning within industries such as consumer electronics, GPS-based navigation systems, enterprise software and consumer marketing.

The inspiration for founding GMR transcription Services came after a 7-hour meeting with one of his marketing clients. He had recorded the meeting and wanted to get the audio file transcribed but was unable to get it transcribed at a reasonable price, so he decided to transcribe it himself. This tedious task led to the idea of offering more convenient and efficient transcription and translation services for writers, students, professors and businesses. From a lack of clear, per-minute pricing structures to an inability to meet deadlines, the industry had failed him, so he decided to start his own company.

GMRT was among the first to enter the industry in 2004. Since Ajay had done some transcription work to earn money while in college, he had a good idea where to start—in academia where students and professors needed lectures transcribed. There was no concept of uploading files online, everything was done in person, and often at a very slow pace. So he knew there was a void and that’s where he began to get a foothold.

In 2008, the Wall Street Journal included them in an article regarding this burgeoning industry. Stanford, Yale and Harvard were among their first clients, which gave them clout and created a domino effect.

GMR Transcription’s business model is to provide transcription using independent contractor transcribers and manage the whole process for the customer. The GMR Transcription team manages the quality of the service so that the customers have a single point of contact and don’t have to deal directly with the transcribers.

Their customer acquisition methods include Internet marketing and referral programs. Cost structures are variable depending on the transcription project and the transcriber cost. GMRT’s fixed cost includes infrastructure and customer service/management.

GMRT is often priced 80% less than other transcription service providers and offers 98% accuracy with a money-back guarantee. It also offers a fast turnaround rate with the help of its transcriptionists, who are one of the brightest and most experienced linguists in the industry. Its competitors include Speech Pad, Rev, Verbalink, and Casting Words.

Their top target segments are academic, corporate, and legal sectors. Other segments it targets include law enforcement, emergency and medical, criminal investigation, government institutions, non-profits, publishing, podcasts, and market research focus groups.

GMRT has over 9,000 registered customers including students, professors, and professionals from Stanford University, Harvard University, Discovery Channel, ADP, AT&T, Chevron, and McDonalds.

Their pricing depends on the document, audio, or video file uploaded. Prices are based on recorded minutes and pages. Transcription cost for audio files ranges from $1.25-$4.50 per recorded minute and for video files ranges from $1.75-$5.00 per recorded minute. Digitization rates range from $6.00-$15.00 per page. Spanish to Spanish transcription rate ranges from $1.75-$4.50. Spanish audio translation rate ranges from $2.50-$5.75 and Spanish text translation rate ranges from $15.00-$25.00.

According to Ajay, the TAM for general transcription services is around $500 million. TAM was arrived at by looking at the target customers and the overall size of the segments.

As of 2015, GMR Transcription is a seven-figure company growing at 20% y-o-y and is at the profitability stage. They are based in Tustin, CA and have offices in Miami, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Atlanta. Their strategy has been to take a vertical marketing approach. They are currently focusing on podcasters and plan to continue using digital marketing and referral programs.

Ajay created the business with just $900. He knew that success would take time, trial and error and a constant reinvestment into the business. Since it wasn’t his only source of income, he could take the time to pay attention to where he needed to expand and contract.

Initially, they were using transcribers in India but the quality of the transcripts was poor so they moved to their fully US-based model. The first person managing the transcription business was based in Indiana, but it did not work out. They then hired someone to work from their headquarters in California, put a process in place, and cut back on costs. They now have a team of three people managing the business.

An ideal investor for them would be someone who is passionate about the industry and who isn’t afraid to get in the trenches and do the work. As an entrepreneur at heart, Ajay says he is perfectly capable and willing to go it alone or if the right situation were to present itself, consider his options. He believes, “Business is about providing a great product or service and expanding that reach on a continual basis. With that in mind, I am always interested in ways to grow.”

According to Ajay, they currently do not have an exit strategy but they do have plans to revisit the situation down the road.

This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Deal Radar 2015

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