SwiftKey who was founded in 2008, had three co-founders all based out of London. These co-founders were Chris Hill-Scott, Jon Reynolds, and Ben Medlock. Just about two months after the company formed and started working on their virtual keyboard that is currently one of the most popular keyboards on Android and iOS, Chris Hill-Scott opted to leave the company, fellow co-founders, Jon and Ben bought his shares in the company. Chris used that money to buy a bike. Hill-Scott decided to leave the company because, well it was a startup. Which meant that everyone was putting in endless hours for little to no money. He left before Ben and Jon built the predictive text features that SwiftKey is known for today.
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Now fast forward to earlier this week, where Microsoft acquired the keyboard company for $250 million. Reynolds and Medlock would be making $36 million from this deal, and now Chris Hill-Scott is kicking himself for selling his shares so early. Saying that it was the “Biggest mistake” he ever made. We certainly agree. Hill-Scott did leave the company on good terms, but he’s currently making £55,000 a year with his current job. This would have been a pretty big payday for him.
As we covered earlier this week, Microsoft bought SwiftKey more for their predictive text and artificial intelligence features. Something that Microsoft has been building upon for a few years now. The SwiftKey team is joining the Microsoft and Microsoft Research team. SwiftKey had 1,000 employees and they are all making their way to Microsoft. Not a bad way to spend your week. Many are wondering what’s going to happen to SwiftKey with the Microsoft purchase, as we’ve seen the company buy other apps and then shut them down after integrating them into their own apps and services. Microsoft has said that SwiftKey will continue to operate as normal, at least for now.
Not the best idea for Hill-Scott, but it could have been worse. If only he could have seen the future. A purchase of $250 million for a keyboard application is pretty expensive, but as we explained already, that’s not why Microsoft bought it.