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What Inspired You To Create Your Mobile App? From 15 Industry Experts

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the “Biggest Startup Mistakes from 22 Industry Experts”. I was fortunate enough to list 22 experts that shared some insightful advice that is still being shared across the web. Around that time I was also brainstorming about how I could respond to one of the most common questions we get asked at tech/entrepreneur events … “What inspired you to create the Buddytruk app?” For those of you who don’t know, the idea of Buddytruk came from a moving accident involving Buddytruk CEO and Founder, Brian Foley. As legend has it… Brian rented a U-Haul to move into his first apartment and accidentally backed into his new (and yet to meet) roommate’s car.

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At the time, Brian recollects that he wishes he simply had a “buddy with a truck”. Thus… Buddytruk was invented changing our moving lives for the better. It was interesting how Brian turned a traumatic experience into entrepreneurial motivation by banding together his knights of the roundtable to make Buddytruk a reality. The story of Buddytruk got me thinking… what other fun stories are out there that I don’t know about?

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So, I embarked on a mission to reach out to fellow entrepreneurs and ask them what inspired each of them to create their mobile app! So many awesome responses came flooding in, it was difficult to pick which ones to use. I narrowed it down to a list of 15 and here we have it – 15 industry experts share their inspiration to create their very own mobile app…


1. Charlyn Keating (@CharlynKeating), Where In Disney?

“I live in Celebration, Florida, which is close enough to Disney World that I can pop over for lunch; we hear the fireworks from our living room. I’m in the parks all the time, so naturally when family and friends would come into town they’d ask me to play tour guide. I knew the parks like the back of my hand, but even so, I’d get questions that stumped me. “Where can my kid get a hot dog in Epcot?” “Where can I find an Elsa dress?” “Do they have any decent scotch around here?” I created the Where in Disney? app to be like a Google search engine for the theme parks.”

2. Daniel Pusateri, CEO of Pulled Strings Software 

“I conceived Anime Doctor, the largest mobile encyclopedia of Anime, because while my team and I were at Anime Expo in 2012 sporting our previous game app’s mascot (Yeti from Yeti Jump), we received attention from comedian, Dave Chapelle and even professional skateboarder, Ryan Sheckler (who hung out with the mascot during his X Games interim).”

3. Kathleen Jennings (@beautynowapp), Founder of BeautyNow

“Responding as the creator of the BeautyNow app, an OpenTable/Kayak for booking beauty appointments at 5,000+ spas and salons across the U.S. The app launched in beta in May 2014, but in February 2013 I was sitting on my couch talking to my husband, and I said, “Why isn’t there an OpenTable for blowouts and massages?” At the time there were two blow dry bars that were equidistant from my house and similar in every respect, and I just wanted to see which one could fit me in at 5:00 p.m. without calling both or checking two websites. And the concept for BeautyNow was born!”

4. Ben Sann, Founder of Best Parking

“I started the business at the age of 17 after watching an episode of Seinfeld in which George refuses to pay for a parking space. I subsequently hopped on my bicycle and surveyed 1000+ parking facilities in New York to map parking facilities and rates. Now at 25 years old, I am Founder & CEO to a team of 15 full-time employees, parking rates throughout North America.”

5. Justin Schwartz (@Privatext), CEO of Privatext

*As told by PR Representative, Emilio Dabul: “Some years ago, one of Justin’s friends mistakenly sent a text meant from his girlfriend to his boss that read something like, “You look so gorgeous, I can’t wait to kiss your face.” The boss told everyone else at work, and it took hours before Schwartz’s embarrassed and bewildered friend realized what happened. This gave Schwartz the idea of a private texting app that can delete messages. Hundreds of thousands of downloads later, it’s safe to say the app is a success.”

6. Juan Cienfuegos (@etlights) Managing Member, Triagelights

“I was inspired by watching people during Katrina waving from the rooftops for help. I developed the app to provide a way for survivors to convey their location, condition and group make up at night to aid responders during search and rescue operations.”

7. Corey Stone (@herokeyboards) Founder, HERO Keyboard

“The inspiration for my HERO Keyboard iPhone app came to me 15 years ago — before smartphones! I was designing a small touchscreen system for semi trucks, and realizing it wasn’t possible to make all the keys be at least the ergonomically recommended 1/2″ diameter, I thought — why should seldom-used keys like “Z” be the same size as often-used keys like “E?” Turns out, we use just 9 letters 80% of the time. The truck project ended up using a standard key layout, but the idea brewed in my head until iOS 8 announced it’d support custom keyboards, so I took the plunge, finalized my design, and had it built.”

8. Fiona Patterson (@SalutetheDesk) Founder of Salute the Desk

“I am the creator of the Salute the Desk app which brings mindful stretching and relaxation to your workspace. I was inspired to create the app because I think slumping over the computer has reached epidemic proportions and we’ve got the aches and pains to show for it! As a yoga teacher I wanted to empower others to increase their body awareness and build a healthier posture through desk yoga. I designed the app to deliver mini yoga sessions at your desk, and it’s my hope that people who use the app will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.”

9. Amy Galland (@theplumeapp), Founder of Plume

*As told by PR representative, Kelsey Costales: “When Amy was texting with a guy, he said something that made her want to flip him off. Realizing there was no middle finger emoji, she sent him a picture of a middle finger from the internet, which only exacerbated his antics. She decided to draw a middle finger and send it to him, which made her think of all the other emojis she wish she had in her phone, but didn’t. From this moment, Plume was born; a free texting app with over 300 flirty and sensual emojis and the privacy features you would want along with it.”

10. Sivan Feingold (@sivan99), Basically

“I used to be a correspondent at a financial newspaper and my friends kept asking me to explain the top stories saying: “we are not going to read 1,000 about the Federal bank, but everyone is talking about it so just tell us what it basically means”. And I did. After a while I figure that there should be a place that explains financial news and I left to create the BASICALLY app, and do just that.”

11. Suzanne So (@JoySprouts), Co-Founder of Joy Sprouts

“Angry Birds and my four nephews. As the former brand and licensing manager of the Angry Birds with deep love into anything about kids, it’s by nature that I love to play with my four little nephews. The favorite thing they like doing most is watching Disney movies 10 times a day. Then I started to question if they can get an ounce of educational value of it, and what if their caretaker/parents grasp what they actually pick up with any video/games/books they get exposed to. From there on, I built Joy Sprouts, where we help parents understand the educational needs of their early-age children.”

12. Jillian Darlington  (@MomCoApp), CEO and Founder of MomCo

“My name is Jillian Darlington and I am the CEO and Founder of the MomCo App. The MomCo App helps moms to connect with other moms that live close by and have similar aged children. It also connects them with businesses and service providers that cater to them. The MomCo App was inspired from my own experiences as new mom trying to connect with other moms in my community and as the owner of an indoor playground trying to find a way to advertise that was within my budget as a small business owner. The MomCo App is truly something I wish had existed for myself. Moms need a more convenient way to connect and really get to know each other. Small businesses and independent services providers need a more effective way to reach their target demographic. The MomCo App solves both of these issues!”

13. Lori Cheek Founder (@loricheeknyc), CEO of Cheekd

“In February of 2008, I was out to dinner with a friend & architectural colleague who slid a business card to an attractive woman at a nearby table which left me with an idea to launch a dating business (2 years later), Cheekd, coined by The New York Times as “the next generation of online dating.” After four tumultuous years of building my startup with the wrong partners, lots of bad decisions and some major rookie mistakes, I finally found the missing link from years before— In the fall of 2013, I got a CTO on board who’s helped facilitate and finance the new face and technology behind the new Cheekd. The newly launched dating app allows users to solve missed connections with a new technology that was not available when the patented Cheekd idea was launched in 2010. Cheekd ensures you ‘Never Miss a Connection’; thanks to this new Bluetooth technology, the app works on the train; on a plane… anywhere—You’ll get a notification if someone who meets your criteria is within 30 feet of you.”

14. Michelle Forsythe (@notestreaminc), CEO and Co-Founder of NoteStream

“NoteStream? was born of frustration with the options to learn. Classes are too far, with limiting time commitments. We took a couple years off to travel to some fantastic and far-off places, and that inspired a compulsion to know more – both before and after. The rise of the smart phone presented an opportunity to finally be able to fit something valuable into the classically hectic modern mobile life. And the time was right to pursue it.”

15. Cindy Leclerc and Jana Stockham, Partners at Cindy & Jana Health Resource

“We are Registered Nurses who have worked with over 20,000 families and their newborns. We saw families discarding pamphlets in their recycle bin, choosing instead to use their phone to search for baby care information. Parents have difficulty, however, knowing which online information can be trusted. We designed NuuNest to deliver accurate health information for both mom and baby, guiding them through the newborn period.”


Now, it’s your turn fellow entrepreneurs! Have you created an app? If so… what inspired you to create it? Leave a comment below and share your story! We want to hear from you!

CJ Johnson

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