The award-winning Londond based, language technology company, SwiftKey, this week confirmed a $17.5M (£11.3m) series B investment round. This was led by Index Ventures and supported by previous investors Octopus Investments and a number of angel investors. Doctoral research from Cambridge University into artifical intelligence led to the development of this company by Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock.
The SwiftKey virtual smartphone keyboard app was the top-selling paid app on Android’s Google Play store in 2012.The application corrects your spelling, suggests words based on your past vocabulary, detects what language you are typing and snaps to it, and picks up on your typing quirks. This is a cut above the usual predictive text. There have been 15 million downloads since 2010 and it has topped the donwload charts in 57 countries in the past year. This was their SwiftKey to £11.3m. The app is blocked on Apple iPhones, Blackberries and Windows phones but they do sell technology directly to Samsung and Blackberry for handsets.
The inspiration for the comapany came through Jon Reynolds, while working in the Civil Service in 2008, noticing a lawyer awkwardly typing into a Blackberry using its tiny buttons. He got in touch with Medlock an old friend from his Cambridge days. They attended the Mobile World Congress in 2010 with a prototype and got a contract from Inq Mobile in the UK which enabled them to hire their first employees. They now have 100 employees and are opening offices is San Francisco and Seoul.
According to an ACT Venture Capital report it is estimated that 529,000 people in the EU are directly employed in the design and marketing of smartphone and tablet apps, as online start-ups and blue chip companies are in a hurry to increase their presence on mobile devices. ACT invests in teams and entrepeneurs who can create and scale innovative companies.
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