'Biggest mistake I ever made': The cofounder of a company Microsoft just bought for $250 million sold his stake for a bicycle

Advertisement

SwiftKey co-founder Chris Hill-Scott sold his stake in the company in exchange for a bicycle months after the company was founded, meaning he missed out on any of the $250 million (£170 million) Microsoft paid, according to The Times.

Hill-Scott is now a developer for the UK government and tweeted that the decision to sell his stake was "the biggest mistake I ever made," according to The Times. His Twitter account is now set to private.

SwiftKey was founded by ex-Cambridge students Chris Hill-Scott, Jon Reynolds, and Ben Medlock in 2008. According to The Guardian, Reynolds and Medlock would have made around £25 million ($36 million) from the deal based on their ownership share of the company.

Advertisement

"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," said a SwiftKey spokesperson in a statement to The Times. "Two months after forming the company, Chris decided to leave ... Jon and Ben bought his shares. He left on good terms."

Microsoft bought SwiftKey because the founders developed a way, based on artificial intelligence, to accurately predict the words in upcoming sentences. In the blog post announcing the acquisition, the founders touted the time their app had saved.

Shape Up Your Future 16th & 17th September 2021
  • 15+ Knowledge Sessions
  • 30+ Industry leaders
Watch Live
Meet Our Speakers
Nikhil Malhotra
Nikhil Malhotra
Dan Schawbel
Dan Schawbel
Ronnie Screwvala
Ronnie Screwvala
Dr. KV Subramanian
Dr. KV Subramanian
Benjamin Pring
Benjamin Pring
Sanjeev Bikhchandani
Sanjeev Bikhchandani

Hill-Scott left before Reynolds and Medlock had developed the technology behind the predictive text, according to The Times, choosing to work as a civil servant. His salary is now around £55,000 a year.

Advertisement

The SwiftKey team has been absorbed into Microsoft and Microsoft Research, the 1,000-strong arm of the company dedicated to scientific research, but it's unclear what they will be working on.

NOW WATCH: The iPhone will finally stop ruining your sleep - here's how