Keyboard app maker SwiftKey raises $17.5M to accelerate U.S. expansion


Language technology developer SwiftKey, whose virtual keyboard application was the top-selling premium Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play app of 2012, has raised $17.5 million in a Series B investment round led by Index Ventures.

SwiftKey Keyboard for Android intelligently anticipates what users will type next by learning their go-to words and how they string them together based on their activities across email, SMS and social media. The app provides next-word prediction and autocorrect services optimized for 60 languages as well as cloud-based backup and sync options. Priced at $3.99, SwiftKey Keyboard topped all paid Google Play downloads in July 2013, analytics firm Distimo reported last month; the firm also licenses its technology to manufacturers including Android smartphone giant Samsung Electronics.

Five-year-old SwiftKey said its revenues have grown five-fold year-over-year, while its staff has tripled in size to more than 100 people over the last 12 months. The London-based startup has also opened offices in San Francisco and Seoul.

SwiftKey has now raised $21 million in financing to date. It will leverage the latest round to continue developing natural language processing and machine learning technologies, update its text input processes and expand its product portfolio. The startup also committed to expanding its presence in the U.S. market, with co-founder and CEO Jon Reynolds relocating to San Francisco to oversee the company's American growth. Don't look for SwiftKey for iOS anytime soon, however: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) does not allow apps to change the iPhone's onscreen keyboard.

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