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Mike McSherry (Photo via Karen Ducey)
Mike McSherry (Photo: Karen Ducey on behalf of GeekWire)

Mike McSherry, a Seattle start-up veteran, has left Nuance Communications nearly three years after the company purchased Swype, GeekWire has learned.

Swype is famous for building a mobile keyboard that allows you to type on touchscreens by tracing your finger along the glass. The technology rose in popularity right as phones with physical keyboards were going out of style.

The Seattle-based start-up was purchased by Nuance Communications, a voice recognition leader, for $102.5 million in October 2011. Swype was founded by Cliff Kushler, who had previously created Tegic’s T9 system, and Randy Marsden. McSherry was CEO.

While Nuance is based in Burlington, Mass., McSherry and dozens of other employees stayed here, where the company maintains a sizable technology center. Prior to Nuance, McSherry co-founded Amp’d and Boost Mobile, two mobile virtual network operators that were focused on attracting a young demographic.

Cliff Kushler, left, and Mike McSherry of Swype at last year's Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards
Cliff Kushler, left, and Mike McSherry of Swype at last year’s Seattle 2.0 Startup Awards

Emails sent to McSherry’s Nuance account today were bouncing back, saying that he was no longer at the company. He referred inquiries to Nuance Director of Product Management Kshitij Moghe, who is taking over his responsibilities, according to that email.

Most recently McSherry was VP of advertising at Nuance, and was experimenting with ways for people to ask questions and get answers from banner advertisements.

According to one source familiar with the matter, McSherry was interested in spinning off of that technology, but it is unclear how far discussions went. As with many acquisitions, it is common for the founders and executive team to leave after a couple of years, typically to pursue new ideas. McSherry could not be reached for comment.

A Nuance spokesperson did not immediately return emails seeking comment, but we will update this post when we hear back. Update: A Nuance spokeswoman confirmed that McSherry has left the company, but did not provide any additional details.

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