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swype 2 logoSwype has raised $5.6 million in a second round of funding and has shown further momentum in getting its new text-entry technology off the ground.

Swype lets you enter text more easily into a cell phone text message. You begin typing a message with a virtual keyboard on a touchscreen phone. The device suggests different words for you to choose, and you make your choice by swiping your finger through the right word on the screen. The company says that most users can type about 30 words per minute in normal text messages. With Swype, they can type above 40 words per minute.

The round was led by Samsung Ventures, Nokia Growth Partners and returning investor Benaroya Capital. The company will use the money to get its technology into more mobile phones and other devices.

swype 3

Swype was founded in 2002 by Cliff Kushner, the co-inventor of T9, the predictive text technology that is used to guess at what you’re trying to write in text messages. T9 is used in billions of phones. Kushner created his new technology for the same reason he invented T9: to help the disabled use gadgets more easily. It took a long time to perfect the algorithms so that Swype could have 95 percent accuracy.

The Samsung Omnia II, launched this fall, is the first phone to use Swype’s technology. It’s no surprise, then, to see that Samsung is one of the new investors. The company says that Swype is faster than existing text-entry methods because it has built-in intelligence that doesn’t require users to hit each letter accurately. It works across a variety of operating systems and devices, from phones to game consoles.

The company started talking about the technology in 2008. It currently has 20 employees. Kushner self-funded the company for a long time, and it raised $1.7 million in angel funding earlier this year.


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