SwiftKey founder Chris Hill-Scott 'sold his share of £170m Microsoft app for a bike'

Hill-Scott tweeted on Tuesday that the decision to sell was “the biggest mistake I ever made” before setting his account to private

Hazel Sheffield
Thursday 04 February 2016 13:32 GMT
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Companies House documents show that Hill-Scott was appointed director of SwiftKey’s parent company TouchType Ltd on August 13, 2008
Companies House documents show that Hill-Scott was appointed director of SwiftKey’s parent company TouchType Ltd on August 13, 2008 (Twitter)

Spare a thought for Chris Hill-Scott.

The civil servant, now 29, founded a startup called SwiftKey in 2008 with two friends, Jon Reynolds, 30, and Ben Medlock, 26, that just sold to Microsoft for £174 million.

But Hill-Scott won't see a penny because two months after the company was founded he sold all his shares - for a bike.

Hill-Scott tweeted on Tuesday that the decision to sell was “the biggest mistake I ever made” before setting his account to private
Hill-Scott tweeted on Tuesday that the decision to sell was “the biggest mistake I ever made” before setting his account to private

Companies House documents show that Hill-Scott was appointed director of SwiftKey’s parent company TouchType Ltd on August 13, 2008 but resigned two months later on October 24.

The Times reported that Hill-Scott was disillusioned with the long hours and low pay associated with a start-up.

Jon Reynolds (left) and Ben Medlock, who are set to become multimillionaires after their firm was reportedly bought by tech giant Microsoft.
Jon Reynolds (left) and Ben Medlock, who are set to become multimillionaires after their firm was reportedly bought by tech giant Microsoft. (PA)

He is reported to have only taken a bicycle as payment for his shares when he left. Those shares are now reported to be worth around £25 million after the business was sold to Microsoft for £170 million.

Hill-Scott tweeted on Tuesday that the decision to sell was “the biggest mistake I ever made” before setting his account to private. The Independent has contacted him for comment.

A spokesperson from SwiftKey told the Times that Hill-Scott left the company on good terms with his friends.

Reynolds and Medlock are about to become millionaires after SwiftKey, a predictive text service, was bought by Microsoft.

SwiftKey uses “artificial intelligence” by learning a user’s writing patterns over time, to better predict the words they might use next. The technology has been used by Stephen Hawking to speed up his computer-generated voice and has been installed on more than 300 million tablets across the world.

Hill-Scott became a photographer, taking action shots for BMX magazines, before joining the civil service to improve the Government’s use of technology.

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