The Kosovar startup is helping the internet pierce the Albanian-speaking world, a demand Google has been slow to meet.
In a world of search engines and information indexing, some minority languages are waiting their turn. For 12 million Albanian-speakers, it’s also a more fundamental matter of getting documents and books and newspapers and bus schedules that are in Albanian online. That’s where Gjirafa comes in — and the $2 million they just scored in venture capital.
Gjirafa is based in Kosovo, that was once at the heart of the Balkan Wars. It is ethnically and linguistically Albanian, but functioning as an independent country. Gjirafa’s founder, CEO Mergim Cahani, started developing his company’s mission when he was a student in the U.S.
“I had a few roommates from Czech Republic; one of them was hired later on by Credo Ventures as an associate (an investor in StartupYard). He recommended that I apply — I did, I got accepted and the rest followed,” he told Geektime.