Web: Microsoft steps up AI push with Swiftkey deal

February 2016 by: From The Web

Microsoft has acquired London-based Swiftkey, maker of a predictive keyboard powered by artificial intelligence that is installed on hundreds of millions of smartphones, in a deal worth $250m.

Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock, who founded the company in 2008 when both were in their 20s, will each make upwards of $30m from the buyout.

The pair together own a substantial minority stake in the company after raising just over $20m, a relatively small amount of venture capital, from backers including Accel Partners, Index Ventures and Octopus Investments.

Swiftkey and Microsoft confirmed the deal on Wednesday, but did not reveal financial details. People familiar with the matter told the Financial Times that the US group paid $250m.

The start-up is the latest in a string of UK companies with advanced artificial-intelligence capabilities to be snapped up by Silicon Valley.

In 2014, Google paid £400m for DeepMind, which then acquired Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factory, two spinouts from the University of Oxford. Last year, Apple acquired VocalIQ, whose AI software helps computers and people converse more naturally.


Continue Reading: Financial Times