Startup spotlight: ULIQ

Startup spotlight: ULIQ

Universal Linguistics (ULIQ) provides a platform that enables customers to connect on-demand with live interpreters and translators who speak the local language and the desired foreign language.

We spoke to Damu Winston, founder of ULIQ, about the application and how it works. The app is currently in beta testing on iOS and available on the apple store for people to use. To download it, visit

If you are bi-lingual or multi-lingual, you should register today. So far, people have been using ULIQ to practice another language or for on the go translations. You can use the app if you find yourself struggling with language barriers in a foreign country while entering a taxi, shopping at a market place, or ordering food a restaurant. Based on your location, it will suggest the language you want help with and connect you with a real person within a minute, with a press of a button. Currently, this service is being offered for free by ULIQ.

In recent conversation with Damu he said “When I was a child I could speak 7 languages; fluently. Now, I barely speak English. The saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”, in my case that could never be more true.  When I moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as a consultant, I constantly found myself lost in translations, either because of the language or because I was unaware of the cultural nuances. So I found myself always saying, I wish I could just call someone, like a friend. Someone who could help me, who knows the language, the culture, area, etc. So for people like me, who loves to travel, explore, venture new world, ULIQ was born for you.

It’s almost been a year since Damu started working on ULIQ, taking it from idea to a fully functional application. The beta version of the app was released last November and since then, it has 278 active translators covers 38 languages.

So why come to Dubai? According to Damu, there were 2 main reasons he chose Dubai. First, based on market research, he knew if he wanted to build a community of multi-linguals, Dubai provides the most international and diverse eco-system. Second, Dubai’s growing startup eco-system is supportive to entrepreneurs; with the growing support provided by organizations like 1776, Dubai Future Accelerators, IBM Global Entrepreneur and other startup initiatives who are truly fostering talent and ideas.

Most recently, ULIQ won the Dubai-Amsterdam Startup Pitch Competition 2017. ULIQ was shortlisted to participate in the next round of startups at Dubai Future Accelerator and Expo 2020 – Expo Live. He also was one of 6 finalists for IBM SmartCamp 2016 Dubai.  He is currently working out of the incubator 1776 located in the Dubai Trade Centre.

Damu is planning to develop ULIQ to support both Android and iOS. He also is planning to expand in the MEA region and raise $300K in seed funding.

Check out at or download the app from

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