Despite the budgetary constraints, Accent sold 250,000 software units in more than 20 countries within its first year, bringing in $2 million. An initial public offering on the NASDAQ exchange in July raised $12.3 million.
"Part of the reason we went public was to get the cash flow for marketing and promotion," said Mr. Rosenschein, who came to Israel from the U.S. in 1983. Accent, established in 1988, plans to spend more than $2 million next year on marketing.
Mr. Rosenschein is convinced Accent has been selling itself. "Most software, because it's developed by American companies with American marketing, doesn't deal with foreign languages, much less with foreign alphabets. Most American software companies believe that if you speak Russian, you live in Russia, and that's a flaw."
Mr. Rosenschein added, "There was a need to identify the market of users who prefer, and need, to work in languages besides English. American software applications aren't geared to multilingual needs, so we designed Accent. If you speak Arabic and live in London, you need Accent."
The international market for Accent includes 32 million Americans who speak foreign languages at home, he said.
Because of the varied nature of Accent's markets-it offers simultaneous use of 35 languages including Hebrew and Arabic-Mr. Rosenschein had to address cultural sensibilities.
"In Spain, we could decorate the box with a fiesta of color, but this wouldn't go over well in more formal Germany," he said. The Design Guys, Minneapolis, contributed some of Accent's package design.
"We didn't have the budget for a broad-based image campaign, so we focused on specific product benefits by listing features.
"Our customers typically knew from the outset what [problems] we solved for them. The users knew exactly what they couldn't do on Windows."
Accent hired Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising's Rowland International, London, for public relations campaigns in the U.S., Germany and England.
In the general press, Mr. Rosenschein said, public relations was the most effective tool.
And Accent's Web site (http://www.accentsoft.com) has also been an asset for advertising and distribution.