Swiss-based startup Typewise has raised €1 million in a seed round from Swiss investors to develop the future of human-machine interaction through on-device, AI-powered text prediction technology.
Its first product, Typewise Keyboard, reduces typos by 4X compared to other keyboards while offering full user privacy. The app has already been downloaded over 450,000 times in just a few months. With the new funding the company plans to release its advanced AI text prediction technology, for which it collaborates with ETH Zurich, Europe’s leading science institution, as part of a federal research grant. This technology will ultimately bring text predictions to any application.
The smartphone keyboard is today’s most important human-machine interface. According to Typewise, we use it 76x per day on average in all kinds of apps, however 70% of smartphone users are bothered by frequent typos, because the keys on the traditional keyboard (which is based on the 19th century typewriter and originally designed for ten-finger typing) are too small and too close together. The Swiss team states that one out of five words typed contains a typo, according to a large study by the University of Cambridge.
Even worse, 77% of users are concerned about their privacy since keyboards can record everything the user writes. Most keyboard apps leverage AI technology to reduce typos, relying on an internet connection to train their central algorithms or to feed their business models with user data. That’s problematic and open for abuse; keyboard apps such as Go Keyboard (200 million+ users), Kika Keyboard (250 million+ users), Touchpal (150 million+ users) or Cheetah Keyboard (100 million+ users) were recently banned from the app stores.
In January 2020, the Norwegian Consumer Council reported that Wave Keyboard (10 million+ users) shared user data with third-party ad networks, despite telling its users that it does not share their data. Relying on privacy promises or GDPR compliance is clearly not sufficient. On the contrary, Typewise ensures 100% full privacy; it doesn’t require suspicious permissions on the user’s phone and all data stays on the device.
Typewise was founded by two Swiss guys David Eberle (CEO) and Janis Berneker (CTO). They met at the age of 14 in high school and say they have “always been two makers with an interest in the latest technology“. In their later professions, as Data Scientist (Janis) and Strategy Consultant (David), both had to write a lot on their smartphones, and both were annoyed by the bad usability. One evening, Janis had a flash of inspiration and within a few hours a concept was developed and in David’s mailbox. As a technology enthusiast, Janis has devoted himself to product development and David has taken care of the market strategy. After validation of a prototype called “WRIO Keyboard” on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, they exceeded their funding target by 50%, and got the validation they needed that the solution would be valuable to others.