Taking Inspiration From the SwiftKey Success Story

Dec 6, 2017 · Guest Post from Innovate UK

Screen shot 2017 12 06 at 06.58.32

It all starts with an idea…

Wise words from one of the most impressive start-ups to have emerged from London in recent years. Founded with the help of an Innovate UK grant, SwiftKey set out to solve one of the biggest issues plaguing smartphone owners on a global basis:

Predictive keyboard accuracy.

Quite simply, if you have human-sized fingers and a device with less than 8- inches of touchscreen real-estate, it’s a problem you can probably relate to. The question asked by the founders of SwiftKey being – how on Earth has nobody come up with a viable, effective solution so far?

As they say…cliché as it may be…the rest is history. Armed with an idea, the ambition to make it work and the support of Innovate UK, SwiftKey set about creating a uniquely effective and innovative virtual keyboard. One that has since been installed on more than 300 million devices all over the world.

It was all the way back in 2008 that SwiftKey first hit the market, at which time the company was being run by University of Cambridge graduates Jon Reynolds and Dr. Ben Medlock. Established with the help of a £15,000 grant, the pair began working on a new predictive text system that would ultimately change the mobile typing experiences of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Since then, it’s estimated that SwiftKey has saved its users an estimated 100,000 years in typing time. Which is a lot!

But one of the most impressive things about the whole SwiftKey story is the way in which its founders remain 100% committed to innovation, discovery and small business values. Over the years, they’ve won any number of awards and even been undergone a takeover by Microsoft, but everything SwiftKey does today is unchanged from the day of its establishment.

"From day one we were obsessed about innovating, we were obsessed about making sure our product got better over time. We build the world’s best keyboard technology, predictive text, next word prediction, and we’ve been the world leaders in smartphone keyboards for the last five years," said CEO Jon Reynolds.

"Running the company is great fun. It can be an amazing opportunity to push yourself and meet amazing people, to really be on the edge of where technology is going, to be in a position where you can influence the way the world, to some degree, is developing. A lot of the great entrepreneurs that I meet are fundamentally frustrated by something about the world. They want to change the world and make this problem better for everyone."

…and the moral of the story is?

It’s right back at the beginning…it all starts with an idea.

These are exactly the kinds of success stories that can and should inspire others from across the UK to follow their dreams and have faith in their ideas. If you’ve got a great idea for a business, waiting around for the ‘right time’ to bring it to life isn’t the way to go.

The only right time is right now!

Click here to learn more about Swift Key!

View other Innovate UK Success stories by clicking here.

Click here to subscribe to the Innovate UK YouTube Channel.


Innovate UK are the British government’s innovation agency. They are focused on finding British businesses and entrepreneurs who can use new science and technology to drive economic growth.

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