Latest Highlights Video

Care Appathon from alive mobile group on Vimeo.


Asylum seeker myth-busting app

Army of apps for good including asylum seeker myth-busting app launched at Sydney hackathon

Over 80 developers, designers, marketers and entrepreneurs gathered in Sydney for a 48-hour hackathon last weekend to launch apps for charities and care organisations.

The competition included over $40,000 worth of prizes and a range of high-profile not-for-profit organisations including St Vincent’s de Paul, the Refugee Council of Australia and the Cancer Council, who briefed the hackers about the key issues they were facing in their work.

The event was coordinated by developer group Alive Mobile. Mat Ashley, general manager at Alive, told StartupSmart the hackathon was designed to bring the power of mobile to life-changing groups.

“We like to prove what can be achieved in such a short time with great and passionate minds working together. It only takes a weekend to change lives, and from a commercial point of view we want to change the world, and this is about making the world work better,” Ashley says.

Ashley adds many charities have neither the skilled personnel nor the budget to outsource app development, so the event was designed to connect their needs with young talent.

An app created for the Benevolent Society took out top prize, which includes further development of the app. The app enabled foster children to track their journey from home to home.

“Their issue was the problems of kids being moved around a lot between foster homes. They wanted to create an app for the kids to connect with other kids on the same journey and feel more connected and control,” Ashley says.

Ashley says one of the toughest briefs given to the hackers was by the Refugee Council of Australia.

“They’re a very small team and their major issue is approaching the misconceptions Australia has about refugees and asylum seekers. So they were really keen to communicate the stats and facts of what’s actually going on and where these people are coming from,” Ashley says.

Ashley says the major challenge for the developers was finding an interactive and engaging way to present facts and draw in users who weren’t already on board with pro-refugee campaigns.

“Delivering stats and facts in an interesting way is incredibly difficult, as a successful app offers engagement and interaction, so turning the facts from something quite dry into something interesting was tough,” Ashley says.

Lucy Morgan from the Refugee Council of Australia told StartupSmart they were delighted with the app.

“It’s about myth-busting and getting the facts out there. We wanted something our supporters could whip out at the pub when they hear a comment about ‘illegals’ or ‘queue jumpers’ and bring the facts up quickly, and it was great in that way,” Morgan says. “We knew people with set opinions and ideas about asylum seekers probably wouldn’t download it, so we wanted to give our supporters a tool to break down the arguments and address them.”

Morgan adds many advocacy groups would love to make better use of mobile technology and apps but couldn’t due to the high cost of mobile development.

“We don’t have the budget for this kind of work even though we’d like to engage with it,” Morgan says. “So we’re not able to invest in it ourselves, but several members of the group have expressed interest in developing it further.”

SOURCE: Start up Smart | Monday, 30 September 2013 | By Rose Powell

48 Hour Care Appathon: A little more about our Care providers

On the 27-29th September, the 48 hour Care Appathon hosted by alive aims to change the countries care sector. A selection of Australia’s most incredible care providers will challenge an army of our countries brightest developers, designers, marketers and entrepreneurs to tackle their biggest issues through mobile lead solutions. Allow us to introduce:

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Wesley Mission has been supporting and advocating for the most vulnerable members of our society for more than 200 years, guided by our Christian faith to ‘Do all the good you can because every life matters’

Meals on Wheels has had a place in the hearts and homes of Australians for now 60 years. Helping the frail older people and younger people with disabilities and their carers stay in their homes where most are happiest is at the heart of the matter.

The Cancer Council NSW is a community funded, community focused cancer charity dedicated to the defeat of cancer.Through the development of prevention strategies, research into new treatments and cures, and by providing clinical and emotional support to those affected by cancer, we work towards realising our vision of a society where lives are not cut short by or their quality diminished by cancer.

The Benevolent Society are Australia’s first charity. They’re a not-for-profit and non-religious organisation and they’ve helped people, families and communities achieve positive change for 200 years.

St Vincent de Paul Society (NSW) for over 175 years, has been lending a hand of support to those experiencing poverty and disadvantage, through the work of over 20,000 members & volunteers in greater than 100 services across the state. Vinnies changes lives every day.

The Refugee Council of Australia is a national umbrella body which promotes the development of humane, lawful and constructive policies towards refugees and asylum seekers both within Australia and internationally.

To do something worthwhile this month REGISTER NOW

Appathon Winners

Another amazing weekend of appathoning!! Thank you to all involved. Our winners were…

1. The Benevolent Society - Clement Breuille & Simon Bertrand
2. Meals on Wheels NSW - Chris McGrath, Jade Loyzaga, Nicholas Cellini and Rhys Davis
3. Cancer Council NSW - Dylan Blazevic, Paul Bates, Janine Hsu and Damien Brzoska

Highlights video

The NFP Appathon from alive mobile group on Vimeo.

NFP Appathon – 1st Prize


Social Experiment

Nelune Foundation 
Matthew Farag & Katie Chen

The Nelune Foundation raise funds for and build cancer treatment centres in Sydney Australia. Being a very small organisation, their need form an app was very simple – Encourage more donations

The Nelune app has been designed to connect a user with 1 out of 3 of their closest contacts in accordance with their Facebook profile. The app encourages and asks the user to reach out to one of those individuals that has “Made a difference to their life” by sending them a personal message. Upon selecting one of the three, the app reminds the user that what they have just done is what Cancer does every day. Before committing to sending the message, the user has the additional option of investing in that individuals future by pledging a $3 donation. Upon receiving the message, the individual selected is then encouraged to go through the same process and thus “continue the chain.” Each individual user that has either started a chain or been part of a chain can then return to the app and track how far their chain has travelled and how much money their chain has raised.

The app is currently under development and will launch in September this year

NFP Appathon – 2nd Prize



Hope Street 
Alison Harrington, Doug Lee & Ronald Huynh

The app we are developing for Hope Street aims to provide the homeless with easy, understandable information of services that provide them with basic needs (like accommodation, food, health and financial services). Currently, this information is very eclectic and hard to decipher. There is a reliance on social workers for access to this information which may require considerable time to obtain.

The solution incorporates an interface in the app as well as the development of a back end database management system for Hope Street to manage.

The Interface: Putting this information onto a device that you carry on your person empowers them to locate services they need quickly.
The app is designed so that the information presented is easy to understand to cater for the lower literacy rates of our target demographic.
Quick buttons are added for phone calls and instant directions for each provider so that contact is made with a simple click.

The Back End: An online repository is being set up to store the most current data. An interface for easy data manipulation is also being developed so that required training for the Hope Street volunteers to manage it is minimal.

Current Status: The app is currently in its design phase.

NFP Appathon – 3rd Prize



Suicide Prevention Australia
Amit Jaiswal, Adam Horvath & Jenny Quealy

Schnappie is an app that hopes to reduce suicide in Australia by finding vulnerable people who are isolating themselves and re-connecting them with their friends. It achieves this in the following way.

On face value Schnappie is an app that gives instant gratification to its users by presenting them with happy memories from their past. It finds these memories by searching through the user’s Facebook photos and finding those photos that have many people tagged in it and many positive comments posted on it. These memories can be presented to the use on demand, or randomly through the day . The user can also use the app as their alarm to be woken up by a happy memory. The app then prompts the user to easily share the photo with others tagged in the photo and to start a conversation.

In the background Schnappie mines the Facebook data to find vulnerable people. It does this by determining which friends the user used to interact with frequently but recently has stopped interaction. Once these friends are determined the app will present more photos that include them in an attempt to re-connect the friends by starting conversations around happy memories.

Current Status: The app is currently in its design phase.

Not-for-profit ‘Appathon’ winners announced

Charity organisations are increasingly turning to new technologies to help promote campaigns and causes, with mobile apps becoming a top feature that is utilised to raise awareness and encourage donations.

Over the weekend (April 26 to 28) 11 teams of application designers and developers, business analysts, project leaders and mobile business designers gathered for the first not-for-profit Appathon.

The event was organised by mobile development company alive, with teams taking part in a 48 hour challenge to create apps that would help solve challenges facing not-for-profits.

Not-for-profits such as NELUNE Foundation, Mission Australia, Suicide Prevention Australia, Cystic Fibrosis Australia, Hope Street and Destiny Rescue were involved, with each providing a brief for the teams to create their mobile apps on.

Each not-for-profit had a different aim in mind, with Mission Australia calling for an app that would make it possible to bring their youth survey to a broader audience.

Kate Sowden of Hope Street wanted an app that would help Sydney’s homeless people easily locate essential services such as food, shelter and health providers.

The Appathon was launched on Friday night (April 26) with participants forming teams and getting started on their app ideas.

The Appathon participants got stuck into work on Saturday – the engine day – then battled it out until the final hours on Sunday, with each team delivering their pitch presentation.

The first prize was awarded to Katie Chen and Matthew Farag, who designed an app for the NELUNE Foundation, a not-for-profit that helps to fund essential cancer care treatments and cancer patient services.

Chen and Farag’s winning idea was to personalise cancer using the ‘one in three people will get cancer statistic’.

This involved “scraping Facebook” to show three of the closest people in your life and encourage you to pay it forward with a $3 donation to help build the NELUNE cancer centre, in case one of the three people is diagnosed with the disease.

Mathew Ashley of alive posted that the two will now work with their company to develop their app and “get it out into the world”.

They have also received scholarships to alive’s Kultura Incubation Program, as did fellow scholarship recipients Doug Lee and Ronald Huynh for their work on a Hope Street application.

“We are the kind of people who give money to homeless people and doubt it will go anywhere to help them,” Chen said via the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The appathon gave us the chance to help a cause in a way that interests and challenges us.”

first not-for-profit Appathon winners

Thank you to all of those who attended our world first NFP appathon. I can not begin to express just how much we appreciate your efforts and contribution to making the weekend such a massive success!! We are very proud of what you all managed to achieve in such a short amount of time and we can not wait to continue working with each of the NFP’s to bring their apps to life. Our winners were as follows…

1st Prize – Nelune Foundation
Matthew Farag & Katie Chen

2nd Prize – Hope Street
Alison Harrington, Doug Lee & Ronald Huynh

3rd Prize – Suicide Prevention Australia
Amit Jaiswal, Adam Horvath & Jenny Quealy

For my complete summary of the weekend and final thoughts, please see my post on the alive mobile blog

To see pictures from the weekend, please see our Appathon Facebook page 

Until the next Appathon…..