Fleksy’s keyboard grabs $800k+ via equity crowdfunding – TechSwitch

    The dev staff that’s now engineering the Fleksy keyboard app has raised greater than $800,000 by way of an fairness crowdfunding route.
    As we reported a yr in the past, the event of Fleksy’s keyboard has been taken over by the Barcelona-based startup behind an earlier keyboard app known as ThingThing.
    The staff says their new funding increase — described as a pre-Collection A spherical — shall be put in the direction of continued product growth of the Fleksy keyboard, together with the core AI engine used for subsequent phrase and content material prediction, plus extra options being requested by customers — akin to swipe to sort. 
    Help for extra languages can also be deliberate. (Fleksy’s Android and iOS apps are presently obtainable in 45+ languages.)
    Their different large push shall be for progress: Scaling the user-base by way of a licensing path to market during which the staff pitches Android OEMs on the advantages of baking Fleksy in because the default keyboard — providing a excessive diploma of customization, alongside a feature-set that boasts not simply speedy typing however apps inside apps and extensions. 
    The Fleksy keyboard can supply direct entry to internet search throughout the keyboard, for instance, in addition to entry to 3rd celebration apps (in an apps inside apps play) — to scale back the necessity for full app switching.
    This was the unique idea behind ThingThing’s eponymous keyboard app, although the staff has refocused efforts on Fleksy. And bagged their first OEMs as licensing companions.
    They’ve simply revealed Palm as an early companion. The veteran model unveiled a dinky palm-sized ‘ultra-mobile’ final week. The tiny additional element is that the machine runs a customized model of the Fleksy keyboard out of the field.
    With simply three.three inches of display to play with, the keyboard on the Palm dangers being a supply of tense friction. Ergo enter Fleksy, with gesture primarily based tips to hurry up cramped typing, plus tried and examined next-word prediction.
    ThingThing CEO Olivier Plante says Palm was in search of an “out of the field optimized enter technique” — and greater than that “excessive customization”.
    “We’re excited to staff up with ThingThing to design a customized keyboard that delivers a full keyboard typing expertise for Palm’s extremely cellular kind issue,” provides Dennis Miloseski, co-founder of Palm, in an announcement. “Fleksy allows gestures and voice-to-text which makes typing easy and handy for our customers on the go.”
    Plante says Fleksy has extra OEM partnerships up its sleeve too. “We’re pending to announce new partnerships very quickly and develop our consumer base to greater than 25 million customers whereas bringing extra income to the medium and small OEMs desperately trying to enhance their revenue margins — software program is the treatment,” he tells TechSwitch.
    ThingThing is pitching itself as a impartial participant within the keyboard area, providing OEMs a extremely tweakable layer the place the Qwerty sits as its technique to compete with Android’s keyboard giants: Google’s Gboard and Microsoft-owned SwiftKey. 
    “We modified lots of issues in Fleksy so it feels native,” says Plante, discussing the Palm integration. “We love when the keyboard feels just like the model and with Palm it’s fully a Palm keyboard to the end-user — and with stellar efficiency on a small display.”
    “We’ve crushed our competitor to the punch,” he provides. 
    That mentioned, the tiny Palm (pictured within the characteristic picture on the high of this submit) is unlikely to pack a lot of a punch in marketshare phrases. Whereas Palm is a veteran — and, to nerds, virtually cult — model it’s not even a cellular tiddler in smartphone marketshare phrases.
    Palm’s cute micro cellphone can also be an experimental try and create a brand new cellular machine class — a form of netbook-esque idea of an additional cellular that’s additional moveable — which appears unlikely to be something apart from extraordinarily area of interest. (Added to its petite dimension, the Palm is a Verizon unique.)
    Even so ThingThing is speaking bullishly of focusing on 550M units utilizing its keyboard by 2020.
    At this stage its user-base from pure downloads can also be area of interest: Simply over 1M lively customers. However Plante says it has already closed “a number of cellphone manufacturers partnerships” — saying three are signed, with three extra within the works — claiming this can make Fleksy the default enter technique in additional than 20-30 million lively customers within the coming months. 
    He doesn’t identify any names however describes these different companions as “different main cellphone manufacturers”.
    The plan to develop Fleksy’s user-base by way of licensing has attracted wider investor backing now, by way of the fairness crowdfunding route. The staff had initially been focusing on ($300ok). In all they’ve secured $815,119 from 446 traders.
    Plante says they went down the fairness crowdfunding route to unfold their pitch extra broadly, and get extra ambassadors on board — in addition to to display “that we’re a user-centric/individuals/impartial firm aiming large”.
    “We’re eager to work and absolutely customise the keyboard to the OEM tastes. We all know that is key for them to allow them to higher compete towards the others on greater than merely the ,” he says, making the ‘Fleksy for OEMs’ pitch. “At this time, the market is saturated with one more field, higher digicam and higher display…. the lacking piece in Android ecosystem is software program variations.”
    Given how tight margins stay for Android makers it stays to be seen what number of will chew. Although there’s a income share association that sweetens the deal.
    It is usually definitely true that differentiation within the Android area is a giant downside. That’s why Palm is making an attempt its hand at a smaller kind issue — in a leftfield try to face out by going small.
    The European Union’s current antitrust ruling towards Google’s Android OS has additionally opened up a chance for added software program customization, by way of unbundled Google apps. So there’s a minimum of an opportunity for some new pondering and concepts to emerge within the regional Android smartphone area. And that could possibly be good for Spain-based ThingThing.
    Except for the licensing charge, the staff’s enterprise mannequin depends on producing income by way of affiliate hyperlinks and its fleksyapps platform. ThingThing then shares income with OEM companions, in order that’s one other carrot for them — providing a providers topper on their margin.
    Although that piece will want scale to essentially spin up. Therefore ThingThing’s consumer goal for Fleksy being so large and daring.
    “We’re working with manufacturers as a way to deliver them into any apps the place you sort, which unlocks model new use instances and allows the consumer to share conveniently and the model to drive cellular visitors to their service,” says Plante. “On this word, we monetize by way of affiliate/deep linking and working a fleksyapps Retailer.”
    ThingThing has additionally made privateness by design a significant focus — which is a key approach it’s hoping to make the keyboard app stand out towards data-mining large tech rivals.

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