Dr Ben Medlock and Jon Reynolds: SwiftKey
A keyboard app with over ten million downloads
Dr Ben Medlock (left) and Jon Reynolds, 32 and 26
Company: Touch Type (trading as SwiftKey)
SwiftKey is causing something of a buzz in the UK tech start-up scene, and it’s easy to see why. SwiftKey makes typing much faster, easier and more accurate on touchscreen devices. Using artificial intelligence and natural language processing, the keyboard app takes note of the user’s commonly used phrases to give accurate next word prediction and correct spelling mistakes. It was downloaded 50,000 times on the day it was launched in 2010, and has now had over ten million downloads.
Revenue has so far been generated through sales of the app, but another significant stream has been added through licensing the software. The two Cambridge graduates have won three leading industry awards already and have raised £2.5m in external funding.
Now available in over 100 languages, Swiftkey employs more than 160 people across its offices in London, San Francisco and Seoul and generated revenues of £8.4m in 2014. The company was acquired by tech giant Microsoft in February 2016 in a deal reported to be worth around $250m. Recently, SwiftKey launched a clipboard feature enabling users to access all the text they’ve directly copied from their smartphone in the last hour. Medlock and Reynolds were awarded MBEs for their services to technology in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours.