Man Trades Startup Equity For a Bicycle, Company Sells for $250 Million 8 Years Later

Man Trades Startup Equity For a Bicycle, Company Sells for $250 Million 8 Years Later

February 5, 2016
Along with his two friends, Chris Hill-Scott founded a startup that was purchased by Microsoft this week for $250 million. Hill-Scott didn’t receive a penny from the sale, however, as he traded his entire stake for a bicycle eight years ago.
The 29-year-old Hill-Scott founded predictive keyboard app company SwiftKey in 2008 along with his University of Cambridge-graduate friends Jon Reynolds, 30, and Ben Medlock, 26. Two months into his directorship of the startup, Hill-Scott reportedly quit because of the long hours and lack of salary, according to the Guardian.
He ended up selling his stake in the startup to his co-founders for a bicycle that same year.
This week, Reynolds and Medlock announced their 8-year-old company had been purchased by Microsoft for $250 million. They each reportedly received at least $25 million from the sale.
Hill-Scott, who now works as a website developer for the British government, called his decision to leave the company “the biggest mistake I ever made” in a Twitter post on Wednesday before making his account private.
A spokeswoman for the company told the Times:
“When SwiftKey formed there were three founding members. Chris was a friend of Jon’s from school and Ben was a friend from his university in Cambridge. Two months after forming the company, Chris decided to leave… Jon and Ben bought his shares. He left on good terms.”
Reynolds and Medlock released the first version of SwiftKey for Android in July 2010.
Through its licensing agreements with other companies over the years, including one with Samsung to power its keyboards on Galaxy Android devices, SwiftKey grew to have more than 160 employees and three offices.
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