WENATCHEE — If asked, Daniel Pirestani could present the news of his company’s latest achievement in 180 languages.
This month, Wenatchee-based InDemand Interpreting — with 1,200 percent growth in the last three years — muscled its way onto Inc. Magazine’s annual list of the top 500 fastest-growing companies in the U.S.
With more than 100 translators under contract and projected sales this year of $7.7 million, the video intrepreting company sits at No. 311 on a list that once included Microsoft, Intuit, Under Armour, Patagonia and Zappos. The list appears in the September issue.
Pirestani, InDemand’s founder and CEO, said the listing underscores his company’s ranking as the state’s fastest-growing health services company and one of the quickest-growing companies (No. 23 at last look) in the nation’s healthcare sector.
Two-year projections put the company at $50 million in sales, said the CEO. There’s talk of an IPO, initial public offering, sometime in the next two years.
Already, said Pirestani from his company headquarters behind Gateway Cinema in Olds Station, the “sophisticated big boys back east” have suggested a buy out, partnerships or some other type of outside investments.
“It’s crazy,” said the 39-year-old CEO. “One day I’m struggling to pay the rent, and the next day I’m sitting in Seattle’s tallest building and talking to venture capitalists with $100 million ideas.”
Why all the hubbub? According to Pirestani, the overall interpretation industry in the U.S. is a $23 billion behemoth. “The more global we become, the greater the need for translation,” he said.
Medical interpretation — InDemand’s specialty of making sure patients get quality care through careful communication — is an industry that grosses about $4 billion per year. A handful of big companies handle much of that interpretation in face-to-face appointments or over the phone.
Five years ago, Pirestani and his wife, Elena, sketched out a business model to provide hospitals and clinics with interpreting services by video. The service links the patient, healthcare provider and translator in an intimate, face-to-face — but electronic — conversation. Like a mini conference call.
So far, only four companies in the U.S. provide the service and InDemand is the largest, said Pirestani. “The whole business model makes perfect sense,” he said. “It saves time, saves money and the potential for growth is huge.”
His company, with additional offices in Seattle and Chicago, has 32 full-time employees and 115 translators under contract around the world. They provide video interpreting services in nine languages and telephone services in 180 languages.
The company receives on average about 500 calls per day and tailors services to different demographics in different cities. For instance, InDemand provides translators for Seattle’s growing Somali population and Chicago’s Arabic community.
InDemand supplies free equipment (software, computers, adjustable hospital stands) and a free support line when medical providers sign a contract for round-the-clock translation services that are charged by the minute, similar to a cell phone plan.
InDemand’s clients pay on average about $12 to $18 per call, said Pirestani. Calls handling more complicated cases can cost more.
Pirestani said he views InDemand as a company similar to Apple, the maker of iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. “Like Apple, we’ve used smart engineering and design to improve a complex product,” he said. “We’ve made interpreting more simple, efficient and easy to use.”
The Inc. 500 ranking is also a stamp of approval for the company, said Pirestani. “This listing is validation. It’s validation for our ideas, our drive to succeed and all our hard work.”
Mike Irwin: 665-1179