When we think about success stories in the world of successful UK tech start-ups, Jon Reynolds and the story of SwiftKey immediately springs to mind. Along with co-founder Ben Medlock, Reynolds saw a unique business idea in the frustrating experience of typing on smartphone screens.
Their solution to that problem was a hallmark predictive technology with an intuitive take on personalised keyboard software. SwiftKey set out with the goal of enhancing the interaction between people and technology when it was founded in 2008, and their efforts appear to have been successful: their flagship mobile app, SwiftKey Keyboard for Android and iPhone is now built into millions of devices across the world.
The personalised keyboard software adapts to its users typing style, allowing them to create words and phrases from simple keystrokes. The fact that SwiftKey users have saved over 10 trillion keystrokes across 100 different languages demonstrates the enormity of Jon Reynolds’ and Ben Medlock’s achievement. The co-founders claim that their app has saved its users a combined typing time of 100,000 years – a bold statement which appears to be supported.
In less than 10 years since setting up SwiftKey, Reynolds’ project has become an essential part of the smartphone experience. It is no surprise, therefore, that the firm was acquired by tech giant Microsoft for over $250 million in 2016. For this young Cambridge graduate, making a decision to abandon a career in the civil service appears to have paid off.
For his efforts with SwiftKey, Reynolds has been recognised as Young Entrepreneur of the Year by both the European Commission and the London Chamber of Commerce, with his firm voted as one of the 100 Best Small Companies to Work For by the Sunday Times.