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Five Aussie women with apps to their name

Date

Sylvia Pennington

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A woman's touch. Many apps have been created by women.

A woman's touch. Many apps have been created by women. Photo: Justin Sullivan

"There’s an app for that" is now an overused catch cry. The rise of the smartphone has been accompanied by a surge in apps to do everything from tracking grocery purchases to locating the nearest public loo.

Apple alone has clocked more than 1.2 million apps and 75 billion user downloads from its App Store worldwide, while Google Play lists 1.3 million apps. Most of those, people assume, were built by men. But for women, who’ve long been a minority group in the tech sector, the apps market is proving fertile, according to Miriam Hochwald, founder of Girl Geek Coffees, a networking group. "It’s a more open market – there’s the capacity to bring multidisciplinary skills and that is attractive, because you don’t have to be a full-on geek,” Hochwald says.

Crowded market notwithstanding, IT Pro meets five Australian women who found there "wasn’t an app for that" and decided to create their own.

Amber Blumanis

Amber Blumanis Photo: Supplied

Amber Blumanis – Stopover 
A 14-hour layover at Ho Chi Minh airport en route home from a backpacking holiday in Europe in 2012 inspired marketing graduate Amber Blumanis to develop an app to relieve transit tedium. The Stopover app allows users to create a profile detailing their interests, which can be used to connect with like-minded travellers for coffee, business networking, foreign language practice or a play date.

“I came up with it because I wanted it,” Blumanis says. “You can see who’s nearby and check out their profile.”

Only available on iOS, the app has been downloaded a modest 500 times since its June launch, but earlier this month landed its 23-year old creator a Rising Star gong at the 2014 Talent Unleashed Awards, judged by, among others, Virgin's Richard Branson and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer Roberts Photo: Supplied

Jennifer Roberts – Picture Postie
Love being able to take snaps on your phone but find it’s a hassle getting them printed off? So did enterprising ex-marketeer Jennifer Roberts, 36, who decided she definitely needed an app for that.

The result was Picture Postie – an app that enables users to order prints and photo products from their phone, Facebook, Instagram and Flickr albums and have them delivered to the door. Photos are printed in Melbourne and distributed worldwide. Launched in January last year, the app has clocked 100,000 downloads and orders are going gangbusters, according to Roberts.

“Hundreds of orders a week is now hundreds of orders a day – we love printing people’s pics!”

Tara O’Connell with Alexi.

Tara O’Connell with Alexi. Photo: Supplied

Tara O’Connell – The Baby Diaries
When her baby son was hospitalised in 2012, Newcastle mum Tara O’Connell looked for an app which could collate the medical details, developmental milestones and daily care details her sleep-deprived brain struggled to track.

"There were a few apps that did some of what I wanted but most were very expensive and Americanised – Mom, diaper,” O’Connell says. “I had kept all of these records in a notepad when my first son was born in 2001.”

Enter The Baby Diaries app – a repository for information about all things baby. Available in free and premium versions, it has been downloaded 3000 times by users as far afield as India, South America and New Caledonia.

Yvonne Ralph created the Deductibles app with her two daughters.

Yvonne Ralph created the Deductibles app with her two daughters. Photo: Supplied

Yvonne Ralph – Deductibles 
Groan at the thought of rifling through a shoebox full of receipts at tax time and trying to remember what they were for?

So did mother and daughters trio Yvonne Ralph, Amanda Lyons and Cassandra Flanagan. Their brainchild is Deductibles, an app which acts as a portable electronic filing system. It allows users to snap a photo of a receipt as it’s received, file it in the correct Australian Tax Office category and store it safely via the cloud for up to six years.

Launched a month ago, Ralph says it’s the first in a series of apps designed to make finances easier for Australians.

Molly Taylor

Molly Taylor Photo: Supplied

Molly Taylor – Infinite Wardrobe

Want to swap fashion ideas and trade clothes with other style mavens from the comfort of your iPhone? Founder of the Brisbane mobile apps consultancy Code Heroes Molly Taylor did.

Since the launch of her Infinite Wardrobe app – the second prize winner at this year’s Oz App Awards – she’s created a community of 8000 fellow fashionistas and their collections.

“There is no virtual currency or hidden costs, it’s completely free to buy and sell – think Pinterest with free trading,” Taylor says.

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14 comments so far

  • All good entrepreneurs, but would have been a better article if at least one of them had a hand in development of the app. "Built by" implies development, whereas it is more likely these apps were "commissioned by". In short, this article is more about business than tech. Once again, kudos to these women for striking out as small businesses, but it's not really about their tech skills.

    Commenter
    Misha
    Location
    Tumbi Umbi
    Date and time
    August 10, 2014, 2:27PM
    • Some of these apps look great, but the first one I tried required immediate $10 in-app purchase to function (for one year) - on top of a purchase price for the app. Bit disappointing.

      Commenter
      Susan
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 10, 2014, 3:26PM
      • Another popular app by a brisbane mum is Mothers Groupie - a growing social network for mums to connect via mothers groups...I love it!

        Commenter
        Richy86
        Date and time
        August 10, 2014, 8:31PM
        • Here's another fantastic App by another talented Aussie woman. http://www.wunderwalk.com/

          Great for when you're travelling and need some ideas :-)

          Commenter
          Mani
          Location
          Brisbane
          Date and time
          August 10, 2014, 10:02PM
          • There is another woman out there too. Her name is Estelle Oliveri and her App is called Eternal Eve
            which I believe is the first app in Australia to to be awarded by the Australian Tourism Board, from what I know about it, it is a networking solution for women and families that move around the country and city, keeping tabs on where their friends and networked connections go for the best things that families and women need eg hairdressers, doctors, dentists chiros etc. It looks like a winner for frequent flyers, flight attendents and regular travellers that are constantly moving around. I think it is available on the various app stores.

            Commenter
            anon
            Date and time
            August 11, 2014, 9:11AM
            • Great article! Love seeing Aussie women being showcased. I downloaded another app by an Aussie woman after last week's article on keeping fit at work. The app is Salute the Desk, and I'm already feeling the benefits!

              Commenter
              Busy Mum
              Date and time
              August 11, 2014, 11:52AM
              • Hi all. My clever wife, Rachael (a graphic designer) designed and released an App last year called Child of the Week. We have been using the process at home with our 4 kids for years, and it works so well Rach decided to create an App. It works on a rotational basis, whereby all your children - from youngsters to teens - get to be the leader in your own home, for the week. By benefitting from the perks – and working for the chores – Child of the Week teaches children the role they play in contributing to the household and cuts out all those needless arguments! 

                Commenter
                Julius
                Date and time
                August 11, 2014, 2:13PM
                • Julius

                  We have that app. Our family love it!!

                  Commenter
                  AJ
                  Date and time
                  August 11, 2014, 3:42PM
              • But these people didn't create anything - they got someone else to do it!

                Commenter
                Max
                Location
                Sydney
                Date and time
                August 11, 2014, 3:18PM
                • But when was the last time you developed your own computer or smart phone app from the ground up? The people who make the money are the ones with the ideas, anyone with skill can make the app work, but it takes the ideas people to start the ball rolling.

                  Commenter
                  anon
                  Date and time
                  August 12, 2014, 8:11AM

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