£25m interest in this SwiftKey app was was swapped 8 years ago for the price of a bicycle
…some times patience can be a virture
Chris Hill-Scott left tech firm in 2008, weeks after startup was set up – now Microsoft has bought it for £174m.
A civil servant traded in his stake in the keyboard app SwiftKey in 2008 in exchange for a bike, only to see it grow into a £170m success – and to miss out on a payout that could have been worth £25m.
Chris Hill-Scott …Gave SwiftKey stake for the price of a bicycle, eight years later it is worth £25m
In 2008, Chris Hill-Scott, founded the startup with Cambridge-graduate in October that year. He reportedly become disillusioned with the long hours and financial insecurity inherent with leading a startup
On Twitter on Wednesday, Hill-Scott, described the decision, eight years ago, as “the biggest mistake I ever made”, before setting his account to private following media attention.
A SwiftKey spokeswoman told the Times he had “left on good terms”.Without Hill-Scott, Reynolds and Medlock went on to release their first version of SwiftKey, which supported seven languages, for Android in July 2010.
The company released a succession of updates, signed licensing agreements with other companies, including the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung, to power its built-in keyboards on Galaxy Android devices.
The company grew to more than 160 staff, with offices in Southwark, San Francisco and Seoul in South Korea, and reached 300 million users globally, with the SwiftKey app available for Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Apple’s iOS.
The company’s artificial intelligence and typing prediction technology, regarded as one of the best in the world, has also been used beyond traditional smartphone keyboards, recently being built into the communication system for Stephen Hawking. It also gained funding from high-profile technology venture capital firm Index Ventures and many others, before being bought by Microsoft for $250m (£171m), earning Reynolds and Medlock £25m each.
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