App cuts typing for Fringe-goers

The new version of the app should speed up ticket booking at Edinburgh's Fringe. Picture: Julie Bull
The new version of the app should speed up ticket booking at Edinburgh's Fringe. Picture: Julie Bull
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A LINGUIST from Edinburgh University is launching a Festival version of his mobile phone and tablet app as he prepares to raise £400,000 from investors.

Tim Willis, chief executive of Flexpansion, said his existing app can already cut down the amount of typing needed in text messages and e-mails by 70 per cent.

Flexpansion can automatically complete words that are typed on a mobile phone or tablet after the first few letters and can turn “text message speak” abbreviations into full words.

Willis – who once ran the fan club for the band Utah Saints, fronted by his brother Jez Willis – has created a new version of his app that will complete venue names and other details for Fringe-goers when they send e-mails or texts.

Although the basic version of the app is free to download, Willis is developing paid-for software for different sectors, which could be used by doctors when filling in patient notes or lawyers when writing case files.

Willis still holds 96 per cent of the equity in the company, which he launched in 2008, and he plans to maintain a controlling stake following the fundraising.

Edinburgh University currently holds the remaining stake after Willis took part in the institution’s Edinburgh Pre-Incubator Scheme (Epis), which helped students to develop their business ideas.

Willis said: “Around 180 words make up about 50 per cent of our language, and so the software can begin predicting which word you are starting to type.”