From helping a brother to becoming a global leader – the story of KeyPoint
Some of the most impressive businesses are established when the founders have a personal need or problem and, in addressing it, find an under-served market. Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia started Airbnb when they couldn’t afford their apartment rent and decided to accommodate paying guests. Closer home, RedBus was started after Phanindra Sama couldn’t get a bus ticket to go home for Diwali.
To help a brother
KeyPoint Technologies also has an interesting story. Founder – Sanjay Patel’s brother lost an arm in a motorcycle accident. To enable his brother to use a keyboard again, Sanjay started working on ways to improve the input experience. He hit upon the understanding that instead of just focusing on ergonomics, the experience would be improved by focusing on linguistics and software.
The birth of a company
Soon Sanjay had device manufacturers reaching out to license his solution and HP was one of the first adopters for its smartphone touch screen. There was a need to ramp up really quickly to meet the requirement. Sanjay managed to get some private investors in UK so KeyPoint was incorporated in Glasgow, Scotland in 2006. After a series B round in 2008 and a series C round in 2010 by the same investors, Sanjay exited the company.
Presence in the present
Today, KeyPoint is one of the top companies focusing on combining linguistics and computing technology to improve the text input experience across all types of connected devices. The company has 170 employees across offices in Glasgow, Hyderabad, San Jose and Tokyo. Apart from being the corporate headquarters, Glasgow is the base for language specialists. With nearly 2/3rd of the employee base, Hyderabad is the technology and development hub, leveraging lower cost and talent availability. Tokyo is the touch-point for sales to OEMs across Japan, Korea and China while San Jose focuses on the US market.
In the last financial year, KeyPoint signed 12 OEM contracts and posted revenue of GBP 872,000. Its CEO, Sumit Goswami is an experienced hand in the mobile devices space, having previously served as the India Country Head for mobile security leader – AdaptiveMobile and APAC Head of Marketing and BD for KeyPoint’s biggest competitor – Nuance Communications. In fact, of his 17 years in corporate life, Goswami has spent 15 in telecom.
Staying competitive and relevant
KeyPoint’s product – Adaptxt today competes with Swype (from Nuance), SwiftKey, SlideIT and ICS. While you will find several comparisons of the various products on the net, Goswami shares that KeyPoint’s biggest competitive advantage is its language database of 102 languages. The company is now venturing into keyboards targeting specific professions like Legal & Healthcare, where complex nomenclature often causes a typing nightmare.
Another interesting concept from KeyPoint is the Branded Smartphone Keyboard that allows for personalized keyboards specific to a brand or event. The product was debuted through a tie-up with licensing companies for US college football where different branded keyboards were created for teams and their fans.
While mobile is clearly the most critical market, KeyPoint is targeting other connected devices. They are especially buoyant about the scope of their products in smart TVs and In-Vehicle Infotaintment systems.
Indian founder, Indian CEO – now Indian market
With India’s smartphone growth in triple digits, it is not surprising that KeyPoint is extremely excited about the Indian market. They see a huge scope for localization and have already launched keyboards for several Indian languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and even – Hinglish! Given that over 90% of Indian mobile devices are actually feature phones, KeyPoint has developed offerings here as well. They are now looking at opportunities in app and content localization.
KeyPoint was selected amongst the ten best emerging companies of 2013 in NASSCOM’s The Emerge “League of Top 10 – 2013. They have also bagged ICT KTN Digital Innovation Award 2013 at NextGen 13 conference.
Check out KeyPoint Technologies here.