Waygo is an app that is changing the way expats, tourists, and business travelers experience Asia and pictorial languages.
Utilizing a combination of Optical Character Recognition and machine translation, Waygo translates Chinese, Japanese & Korean characters into English text by seeing images, finding the relevant text, and finally creating sensible phrases. Waygo does not require an internet connection to operate. Companies that enter the field of OCR spend many years getting their solution to work, let alone be any good. We are no different. Our team has been working on our in-house, proprietary algorithms for about two years and it has paid off. When benchmarked against ABBYY (the top commercial OCR) our software is five times faster, two times more accurate, and a tenth of the file size.
The idea for Waygo came about two years ago as Ryan was working in China building mobile games. He
was in the process of learning Chinese and found it extremely difficult, especially for someone used to
romance languages. If only there were a tool that he could look up characters by simply pointing a phone
camera at the text, his--and many others--lives would become much easier. At first the idea was an
educational tool, but eventually it grew in Ryan's head that this could help any traveler in any country see
with new eyes. Ryan, Kevin, and Huan-Yu met in Providence, RI through the Betaspring incubator program where they
founded the company, created the first prototype, and eventually launched their first alpha version of the app.
The team was then invited to the 500 Startups accelerator program in Mountain View, CA where they grew the team and
launched their first fully-featured, premium version of Waygo. We decided to first focus on China and the East Asian
market because that's where our team had the most experience and it was also the most difficult batch of languages
to solve and we were up for the challenge! Our roots have provided a solid foundation and we are excited for what
we have in the works--improvements and future app versions.
Why The Name Waygo?
Waygo helps travelers go to a foreign country, or 外国 (“wài guó”) in Chinese. After discovering
Americans have difficulty pronouncing Chinese, we adapted the pinyin to the English language.
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