High school friends Matt Conger and Phil Kohn first visited China on separate business trips, but it didn’t take long for them to both realize that this is where their futures lie. The two friends wound up returning to study Chinese, Conger in Beijing and Kohn in Guilin, and eventually recognized an opportunity to disrupt the traditional interpretation market. After three months of continuous effort, the two launched SeekPanda this week, a two-sided marketplace matching up interpreters with consumers.

Initially, SeekPanda interpreters are only available in four markets: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Taiwan. The founders have already given some thought to future expansions, though.

SeekPanda was originally conceived as a means of helping business travelers by taking care of many of their needs before they arrive in China. After realizing this was not a scalable business model, according to Kohn, the idea morphed into a marketplace where bilingual Chinese and English speakers could sell their services.

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