Movers & Shakers Interview with David Eberle, CEO - TypewisePublished Date: 2/5/2021
David Eberle's background is in digital strategy. As a strategy consultant, he helped digitize international corporations across Europe and the US. As a student, he spent many years in Asia, which gave him a different perspective on languages and cultures. During his MBA, which he did at INSEAD in Singapore, he learned more about entrepreneurship, which motivated him to pursue this venture full-time eventually. The real driver behind going full-time was his co-founder Janis, whom he has known since high school, and who quit his job as well to pursue Typewise.
Vishal Sapru (VS), Co-Founder, Cognitio Research Inc. had an opportunity to conduct a Movers & Shakers interview with David Eberle (DE), CEO, Typewise
VS: Can you provide our readers a brief overview of the company including the vision behind its formation?
DE: Typewise is a deep tech company, on a mission to make daily lives easier by decoding human thoughts. Our first product is a smartphone keyboard created to remove the frustration from typing and change the way users input information into their devices.
VS: Please, describe your product for our readers? How different is it from what is already available in the market?
DE: Typewise’s successful concept is powered by a patented ‘honeycomb’ style keyboard layout designed specifically for smartphones to increase efficiency as user experience, conventional keyboards result in around 1 in 5 words having a typo. Typewise reduces those typos by 4X and results in 33% faster typing speeds.
In addition to helping users type faster with fewer errors, Typewise can automatically recognize the language of which the user is currently typing and switch to that language, preventing any incorrect words from entering the user’s work, without having to change the language in the settings. This recognition software is so acutely sensitive, it even recognizes and assists users when they type in a dialect or use colloquialisms; this ground-breaking feature is currently available in 40+ languages, with more on the way. This new system provides a higher percentage of accurately corrected words than other leading keyboard players such as Gboard and SwiftKey. This ground-breaking autocorrection technology was jointly developed with top AI engineers from ETH Zurich, one of the world’s leading institutes for technology and engineering.
This complex technology has all been developed with AI algorithms that are capable of running offline, which safeguards user privacy. Most importantly, neither the Typewise app, nor third party apps, can access any user data; a complete break from the existing market.
Typewise has already been downloaded over 500,000 times and is being used by 130,000 active users. The app has been named as a CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree.
VS: What are some of the likely challenges Typewise is expecting to face in the market and what strategy do you have in place to overcome it?
DE: As with any innovation, it will take time to convince users to switch to our honeycomb layout, relearning how to type on a smartphone keyboard. We see from many users however, that once they get used to it, they see it as an immense improvement and don’t want to switch back to an old layout from yesteryear.
VS: What do you want the company to accomplish in next 2 to 3 years and how will you define success for Typewise?
DE: We’re working on the next-generation of our text prediction technology which enables us to reach 10M+ users over the next 2-3 years.
VS: There are vendors in the market with complementing or similar products. How do you compare yourself with such competitors in regards to offering Best-in-Class solution?
DE: There are a fair amount of other Smartphone keyboards currently in the market, such as Gboard or Swiftkey. However, often they don’t place data privacy of user information on a high level. For example, Swiftkey (500m+ users, now owned by Microsoft) mixed up user data and displayed private content such as email addresses to the wrong user. Google, too, is involved in a privacy lawsuit (not directly involving Gboard but underlining how supposedly privacy-friendly software can turn out to be the opposite.
What’s required is an intelligent keyboard that is private-by-design, where all user and typing data stays on the device without being transmitted over the internet. This requires sophisticated AI algorithms that are powerful enough to learn the user’s individual typing behavior and are thus able to recognize and correct typos well, and at the same time run offline without relying on internet access. Such a privacy-by-design system is technologically very challenging, because it’s unable to benefit from crowd intelligence.
One provider of such a keyboard is Typewise, a Swiss-based start-up that develops a private keyboard that is able to compete with (and even outperform) the algorithms made by Google & Co. An alternative is AnysoftKeyboard, an open-source variant that runs offline but is unable to offer state-of-the-art autocorrect and text predictions due to the lack of artificial intelligence.
VS: What are your marketing and product positioning strategies? Do you plan to form any strategic alliances and/or partnerships? How do you plan to build and strengthen the brand?
DE: We are in talks with different companies who are interested in licensing our technology. Furthermore, we’re looking in working with smartphone OEMs to accelerate the distribution of our keyboard app.
VS: As a general conclusion, what do you think the future holds for your product?
DE: Our mission is to make daily lives easier, and a better keyboard is only a first step in this direction. Our vision is to make human-machine interaction radically easier. It shouldn’t be that we need to basically “spell” our thoughts by tapping letter by letter on a keyboard, but we want to make that translation of our thoughts into digital information much, much faster.