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BAD LUCK

SwiftKey’s co-founder sold his shares for a bicycle—and missed out on a share of $250 million

Reuters/Bobby Yip
Don’t think about it.
  • Aamna Mohdin
By Aamna Mohdin

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

Chris Hill-Scott may be the tech world’s unluckiest guy. He was the founder of a cool British start-up used the world over. Unfortunately, he missed out on the “becoming a millionaire” part.

The 29-year-old Briton co-founded the predictive keyboard start-up SwiftKey with his friends, Jon Reynolds, 30, and Ben Medlock, 36. Hill-Scott decided to back out of the venture two months in; he reportedly grew tired of the long hours and work required. He sold his stake for a bicycle in 2008.

Within eight years, the company would grow into a massive success, especially when third-party keyboards were allowed on the iPhone in 2014. And this week, the two remaining founders—Reynolds and Medlock—announced that Microsoft bought the company for a whopping $250 million. They reportedly made more than £25 million (paywall) each from the sale.

A spokeswoman for SwiftKey told The Times:

When SwiftKey formed there were three founding members. Chris was a friend of Jon’s from school and Ben was a friend from his university in Cambridge. Two months after forming the company, Chris decided to leave… Jon and Ben bought his shares. He left on good terms.

Hill-Scott is now a web developer for the British government. He described the decision to leave as ““the biggest mistake I ever made” on Twitter—before changing his privacy settings.

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