Hi there! I’m Ioannis Verdelis, co-founder of Syntellia and one of the creators of the next-generation text-input app Fleksy. Last week, we closed our Series A financing round. It’s a big milestone for us, and we’re excited to have brought together a panel of strong investors to realize our vision.
Among the investors was Highland Capital Partners’ recently announced Leap Fund. As it happens, we are the Leap Fund’s first investment! Today, I’d like to share our story with the developer community, including our dream of touchless typing.
What we do
We’re the creators of Fleksy, the revolutionary software keyboard that lets you type on a touchscreen without even looking. Its auto-correct system uses an incredibly powerful text prediction engine that can detect the text you meant to enter – even if you’ve missed every single key. You can download our Android beta at beta.fleksy.com and a preview of our iOS app at fleksy.com/app.
Why the Leap Motion Controller?
We first heard of the Leap Motion Controller about a year ago from one of our investors. At the time, we were discussing an interesting property of Fleksy‘s technology – since our pattern recognition engine requires no frame of reference (such as a displayed keyboard on screen), it could easily be adapted to a 3D environment.
This was (and still is) a big area of interest for us. As Fleksy is a next-generation typing system, it has a huge advantage against previous-generation solutions. When applied to devices such as Leap Motion, Google Glass, wearable computers, and similar setups, it removes the need for perfect accuracy. Instead of carefully trying to hit each key in sequence, users can type quickly and let the app do the work.
We believe that technologies like the Leap Motion Controller offer us the opportunity to take typing beyond the keyboard. For example, Fleksy could be used in environments such as window fronts, to allow text input on a window without needing to convert to a touch-screen. It could also be used in embedded systems – such as medical devices or automotive environments – where a hardware keyboard might not be advisable for health or safety reasons. We feel that Fleksy‘s unique text prediction capability differentiates us from many competitors as these devices hit the market. It’s the Big Idea that underlies everything else we do.
Building our prototype
A year ago, not many people had actually seen a Leap Motion device – other than through some teaser videos. We managed to get an introduction to the team, and after demonstrating Fleksy on a smartphone and explaining what we wanted to do with the Leap Motion Controller, we were invited to see Leap Motion in action!
Here’s what it looked like back then:
Soon afterwards, we decided to build a Fleksy + Leap Motion prototype. We were impressed with how the two technologies worked together, and we decided to continue down that road.
We first had to adjust our technology to work in three dimensions. The first implementation was a simple extension of the algorithms, and in subsequent prototypes we iterated through changing parameters of our algorithm to make it perform better in a three dimensional environments.
As the Leap Motion Controller matured, so did the accuracy of our solution – every hardware and SDK update has delivered improvements to Fleksy’s 3D performance. We also worked on designing a user interface that made sense for a 3D environment.
Making our pitch
Fast forward some months, and some iterations of our Fleksy + Leap Motion work, and we were closing our Series A funding round.
In making our pitch to investors, we showed:
- Possibility: what our app could offer
- Potential: what our team could accomplish
Investors were interested in hearing about:
- Opportunity: how our technology applies to today’s smartphones and tablets
- Progress: how it will apply to tomorrow’s gesture-based devices
- Growth: how it can turn into a billion-dollar business as the market grows
With the backing of our investors, we will be able to reach millions of users in both smartphone and tablet markets, as well as commit resources to post-touchscreen environments.
We were very pleased that Highland Capital decided to support this vision – and that some of the support came from the Leap Fund. We feel that a close cooperation with the team at Leap Motion will help us tackle the 3D environment as successfully as we have the 2D, and break new boundaries in text input.
— Ioannis Verdelis, Co-founder & COO, Syntellia
Launched by Highland Capital Partners, the Leap Fund is a $25 million investment initiative focused on entrepreneurs that use Leap Motion technology to push the boundaries of human potential. You can apply to receive funding for your world-changing idea – they’re looking for everything from killer apps and embedding into other hardware/software to unique businesses across various industries. Submit your idea »