A young Sydney software entrepreneur who gained success last year for his best-selling parking app has developed a new app designed to rescue stray animals from pet shelters.
During his final year of high school last year, Brandon Cowan, 18, developed the iParkedHere iPhone app, which went on to become the No.1 top grossing app in the Lifestyle category of the iTunes app store.
Now in the first year of a Bachelor of Information Technology degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, Cowan has developed an app for PetRescue, a non-profit organisation that finds new homes for lost and abandoned pets.
The PetRescue database, with which the app was built, contains over 6500 pets from shelters across Australia. The app automatically detects your state and displays listings accordingly. Users are then able to contact these shelters directly from within the app via email or telephone.
"Over 250,000 pets get killed each year simply because they don't have homes," says Cowan.
"We have taken a step to reduce this number by developing the PetRescue app entirely for free."
The app, which is free to download, was developed in conjunction with University of Wollongong student Wei Zheng. It has proved another hit for Cowan's company, Crazy Dog Apps, featuring in the top 100 free iPhone apps in the iTunes store.
PetRescue, which has so far rehoused 125,000 animals, hadn't even considered an app when they were approached by Cowan.
"We're a charity so we never have enough money or resources. It was definitely not something that we had thought about," says Natasha Shan from PetRescue.
Cowan conceived the idea for a national database of animals in shelters throughout Australia last year. With the help of Zheng, they found that PetRescue had already done the hard yards for them and had an existing database.
He then contacted the organistion with his idea, which at first didn't believe that he was willing to help them out for free. Once PetRescue was on board - which didn't take much persuasion - they supplied him and Zheng with what they needed and were thrilled with the results.
"The app has been really helpful for us ... it's based on the idea that you don't have to go out to a shelter or a pound because that can be a really daunting prospect for a lot of people," says Shan.
Cowan, himself an animal lover with two cats and a dog, was able to donate his time to PetRescue thanks to the success of his other apps, such as AUSBUY. This allows users to scan barcodes in the supermarket (or search by name, brand or category) and it will determine if the product is Australian made and therefore certified AUSBUY.
"If just one animal gets adopted from our app, the combined 100+ hours spent on this app is definitely worth our time and effort," says Cowan.
PetRescue is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.