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#WeArePlay celebrates app and game founders from Australia

A gif beginning with a college of 50 people’s faces. After turning yellow with an outline of the Australia land mass, there is a transition to white background with #WeArePlay text in the middle.

Last year, #WeArePlay went on a virtual tour to spotlight the stories of app and game founders of India, Europe and Japan. Today, we’re continuing our tour across the world with our next stop: Australia. From an app helping turtle conservation to an impossibly addictive game, meet the founders of 50 apps and games companies building growing businesses on Google Play.

Here are few of my personal favorites:

A man and a women crouched down on a beach

Caitlin and Nicolas, founders of We Spot Turtles

We Spot Turtles, Perth

When environmental science student Caitlin returned home from a magical trip monitoring sea turtles in Western Australia, she was inspired to create a conservation tool that could improve tracking of the species. Connecting online with mobile developer and fellow sea-turtle admirer Nicolas, the two collaborated virtually to release We Spot Turtles. The app allows snorkelers, divers, scientists or anyone else to upload pictures of sea turtles they spot along the coast, leveraging Al to identify each turtle species and individual. The information is then passed on to different conservation projects and can even be used by environmental organizations to influence legislation. In the future, the pair hope to branch out into other conservation efforts, including red pandas and whale sharks.

A woman smiling, holding a toy robotic arm

Clara, CEO of Hipster Whale

Hipster Whale, Melbourne

Clara, once a child immersed in video games, now leads Hipster Whale as CEO. The fine art graduate studied computer programming after a housemate suggested she turn her love of games into a job, and she later found work as a games tester. After working with revered publishers and developers, she joined Hipster Whale to collaborate on arcade-inspired hits like Crossy Road, one of her most successful mobile releases ever. Clara has helped encourage women entering the profession, as well as making titles for the world to enjoy. With over 160 million downloads on Google Play, Clara’s team is continuing to work on Crossy Road to bring great new content to players while focusing on cementing the company's reputation as a top creator.

A woman and a man standing in front of trees, listening to music from a device

Uncle Bobby and Aunty Rieo, co-founders of Yalinguth

Yalinguth, Melbourne

Educating people about Aboriginal heritage is deep in Uncle Bobby's roots. Keen to share the stories of his ancestors, he partnered with Pip and Zoe, founders of a storytelling agency, to create Yalinguth — meaning “yesterday” in the Woi Wurrung language. It's a geo-located oral history app unearthing the tales of elders and their families. To help represent the history of Aboriginal women, Aunty Rieo came on board and encouraged other elders to share their cultural knowledge and memories. Now backed by a team of around 15 experts — including First Nations leaders —Yalinguth's scope is expanding to include more communities and regional areas.

One man smiling on a small boat on a river

Brian, founder of Sweaty Chair Studio

Sweaty Chair Studio, Sydney

After graduating in computer science, Brian embarked on a career as a 3D animator. Following a stint in Silicon Valley, he returned to Sydney and founded his own gaming company, SweatyChair, merging his technical skills with the passion for art. During a gaming developer competition, Brian — alongside his wife and three other participants — built a challenging monster and bullet dodging game called No Humanity within 48 hours, winning first place. He successfully improved and launched the title a week later, getting over 9 million downloads so far. Taking part in Google Play's Indie Games Accelerator program in 2022 helped Brian to grow the studio even further. Apart from assisting fellow creatives in the industry, he also champions a more active gaming experience, where players can create and enjoy their own elements.

Discover more #WeArePlay stories from Australia, stories from across the globe and share your favorites.

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