People behind Top Android Apps
By Arijit Banerjee
We all know about Mark Zuckerberg and Jan Koum, the founders of Facebook and Whatsapp, which are the top apps on the Google Play Store. However, in this blog, we’d like to tell you more about the ‘not so famous’ people behind the other top Android apps. Here goes!
The wildly popular, furiously trending game Candy Crush was envisioned and brought to life by King Digital Entertainment, which will be valued at $7bn this year.
Melvin Morris, Chairman of the company since 2003 with an estimated shareholding value of $821m, is a self-made millionaire. After working in the US, he returned to his home town Derby and started a few businesses including a dating agency, a property group and a hardwood flooring company. After netting a whopping £20m from them, he invested part of it in the Derby County football club and a part of it establishing King.
The other major players include King’s suave Italian Chief Executive Officer - Ricardo Zacconi who previously ran the German division of the Swedish web portal Spray. He later joined uDate in 2002 before launching King along with his colleagues from Spray.
Sebastian Knutsson, the Chief Creative Officer and one of King’s founders designed Candy Crush Saga. His inspiration for the Android app design is drawn from the vividly colourful, noisy bleeping arcade games such as Pac-Man and Tetris. He co-founded Spray as well, where he met Zacconi.
Imo is an all-in-one social discovery and communication platform that supports various networks including Yahoo, Facebook, Jabber, ICQ, Google Talk and MSN. The features of the app include private chat, group chat, sharing multimedia photos and files, voice messaging and chat history searches.
In 1999, Georges Harik joined Google and ended up running communications and collaboration products there. A few years later, he left Google to start a new venture with his brother Ralph Harik, who was also his roommate at the time.
In 2007, the two of them founded the instant messaging app - Imo.im. Working in Google gave Harik the foresight and intuition about the upcoming need for communication devices. Imo.im has a large user base consisting of seven million people, who use this cross platform app to connect to 11 different instant messaging networks on smartphones, desktops and tablets as well.
Imo.im is also about to launch in-chat advertising, which will allow users to use the app without ads.
Truecaller is the ultimate solution to avoid spam calls. Within its first week of release, Truecaller gained around 10,000 downloads, making it an instant hit.
What started with sharing smartphone experiences way back in 2003 for Alan and Nami, subsequently resulted in a permanent solution for perennial problems related to spam calls.
In 2006, Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam both graduated from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. In early 2009, the two had a general discussion about the hindrance of unwanted spam calls. This seemingly regular conversation is what led to the inception of Truecaller.
Pals since college days, Alan and Nami (31) have together founded two other startups apart from Truecaller.
Drawsomething is OMGPOP’s smash hit game that attracted 35 million downloads in just five weeks.
Charles Forman, the founder of OMGPOP grew up in Chicago. Having never attended college, Forman grew up with a strong adoration for video games. He was always curious about the workings of game cartridges and would often use a screwdriver to see how they worked. With $80,000 in his savings and a strong desire to bring to life his childhood passion, Forman founded OMGPOP. Forman wants to keep creating and building things while also giving back to the tech community.
A British app SwiftKey, utilizes a mixture of various artificial intelligence technologies that allow it to predict the next word, which the user intends on typing. The output predictions are based on the knowledge that SwiftKey acquires from previous text messages and the current reference of the text.
In 2008, SwiftKey came to life thanks to three Cambridge graduates - Chris Hill-Scott, Dr. Ben Medlock and Jon Reynolds. With its head office in Southwark, London, the company has a staff of around 160 people and its other offices are located in Seoul and San Francisco. Android app creator Chris Hill-Scott, relinquished his share in SwiftKey the same year as its inception and tweeted after that it was the biggest mistake of his life.
However, Ben Medlock and Jon Reynolds stand to gain millions from the deal. The app that allows users to swipe between letters and learns the user’s habits to predict the upcoming word was also used to modify Stephen Hawking’s speech system. With over 300 million devices utilizing this technology, SwiftKey is definitely on the rise.
Know of other amazing Android developers who’ve made a dent in the universe? Share their names via comments J