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Top Women App Makers Making It Big In A Man’s World

Abhinav Girdhar
By Abhinav Girdhar | Last Updated on October 13th, 2023 10:51 am

App Builder Appy Pie, December 21: Despite the tech world still being dominated by younger men, the consumers that most of the people want to reach are largely women. Have you ever stopped to wonder why? Approximately 87% of all the purchases can be safely attributed to women! Isn’t this creating a huge gap between the suppliers (the app-makers) and the people who are actually the consumers or the furnishers of the demands. This is what makes us question why aren’t more women making apps? It should only follow that more and more women should be involved all through the process right from ideation, development, promotion, and the way the apps would be monetized.

The tech world is known for being predominantly a man’s world with younger men occupying most of the positions from the ground up. Was it the social conditioning or a natural inclination, or simply certain stereotypes and hesitation on women’s part and on the organization’s part? In the recent times however, there is a marked change in the gender dynamics of the app economy. Two quarters of this year ago, Appy Pie conducted a research on the ratio and rise in the number of women app makers and compared the data points of the first two quarters for the years 2016 and 2017. The numbers were encouraging to say the least and it led us to dig a little deeper and pay a homage to the top women app makers.

1. Robyn Exton – HER

What began as an evening consoling one of her friends who had broken up with her girlfriend, quickly graduated to Robyn realizing that the lesbian dating websites or apps were largely a clone of the existing gay dating websites. This made her realize the existing gap and the scope of solutions that she could provide if she were to design a lesbian dating app that really was made for women and appealed to women.

2. Lisa Bettany – Camera+

Lisa Bettany is one of the developers who have been more visible and well known as compared to the rest. Her photo app Camera+ was not only the first most notable third party camera app for iPhone, but it also rose to that status by implementing unauthorized, sought after features e.g. using the volume buttons to operate the camera shutter. Since then this feature has actually been lifted off by Apple and implemented into their default camera.

3. Lina Chen & Naomi Ladizinsky – Nix Hydra

Lina Chen (Co-Founder & CEO) and Naomi Ladizinsky (Co-Founder & CCO) came together to form Nix Hydra a Los Angeles based entertainment software company. The two describe themselves as Yale graduates with a dream and their debut game – the virtual pet Egg Baby was downloaded for more than 15 million downloads. Having known each other for over a decade, the two work and live in tandem as their homes are on the same block in Los Angeles, California. While Lina takes care of the business side including the money, marketing analytics, company strategy, hiring and all the administrative aspects of the business, Naomi provides Nix Hydra with a creative direction while being involved in idea generation, designing social systems and even designing the costumes for the virtual Egg Baby.

4. Samantha John & Jocelyn Leavitt – Hopscotch

Not only is this duo known for making an app, but they might be responsible for nurturing hopes and expectations of a new generation of young app developers. Samantha & Jocelyn’s app – Hopscotch helps the children learn to code in a playful manner. It is their innovative thinking, and hardwork that might as well prove to be an essential first step towards creating a global base of young app developers.

5. Liat Zakay – Donde

In fashion, it is all about being different and Liat Zakay has proven this in her own unique way. Who would have thought she would create a fashion app that would prove to be a game changer, when she was still a coder in the Israel Intelligence? Not many, but it did happen! Like most of us, Liat was raiding her sister’s closet and wanted to buy everything when this unique idea for “Donde” hit her! Fashion is very visual, and the existing solutions would only work with text keywords, which made it tiresome, if not impossible to find the clothes that you were really working for. Her app Donde has changed all that and uses visual cues to help you find exactly what you are looking for, from among 6,000 fashion & accessory brands from all over the world.

6. Deborah Liu – Facebook

This is a name most of us are aware of and have been hearing about since she launched Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ads in October 2012. This division launched by Deborah Liu has in fact become one of the most rapidly growing and most lucrative new businesses owned by the company. The thing to note here is that though Facebook was not the first company to experiment with ads for installing apps with big and small players making good progress in the same. Facebook, in-spite of being a late entrant in the field, did manage to slow them down if not kill their growth completely.

7. Carla White – Gratitude Journal

A close relative passed by and Carla White in her grief was trying to journal the things in her life that she was grateful for. It was her dissatisfaction with the existing journaling apps that led her to develop her own – Gratitude Journal. This app was designed to capture a user’s thoughts, especially what they felt grateful for, and managed to climb to the top of the chart in the lifestyle chart in the App Store in addition to being featured by Oprah. Today she has an app development company and has already authored a book – Idea To iPhone.

8. Prerna Gupta – Khush

After cofounding Khush – a company that developed intelligent music apps, it was in 2011 that both Prerna and Khush caught the attention of Smule. Hence it was no surprise when after Smule acquired Khush, Prerna too moved over to become the Chief Product Officer at Smule. She is most popularly associated with her path-breaking app – Ocarina that allows you to blow into the microphone of the phone and play it like you would play any other wind instrument.

9. Cathy Edwards – Chomp

Cathy Edwards was responsible for the engineering, product management, and design of the app Chomp which went on to become the best app search engine. She built and shipped Chomp in just over 90 days and Apple bought it in just over 2 years and incorporated it into their own offerings while shutting Chomp down.

While these women have been contributing tirelessly to the women’s cause in the tech world and are encouraging more and more women to consider taking up mobile app development. Appy Pie has always been curious about and a forerunner in spotting trends and this observation led us to conduct a deeper research in the context of rise of women app makers.

Key Findings: according to the data findings by Appy Pie, women users on the Appy Pie are creating a lot more apps this year as compared to the year before. In the year 2016, the number of women app makers made up 22% of the app makers, but in the year 2017 the percentage of women app makers spiked up to 41%.

Methodology: Appy Pie looked into the number of apps created by women on the platform for the year 2016 and compared that to the number of apps created by women in the year 2017. The app categories considered for this study included professional services (real estate, accountants etc.), health (doctors, wellness, fitness etc.), food (fast-food, restaurants, caterers etc.), travel/hospitality airfare, train tickets, buses, hotels, ridesharing etc.), retail (ecommerce/brick and mortar etc.), and gaming.


Overall Findings:

On comparison of data points from 2016 & 2017, the following emerged:

  • 2016: The number of apps that were created by women in the year 2016:
    • 110,000 out of 510,000 (22% of apps on Appy Pie were created by women)
  • 2017: The number of apps that were created by women in the year 2017:
    • 365,000 out of 890,100 (41% of apps on Appy Pie were created by women)

Category Specific Findings

Professional Services

  • 2016: The number of apps created by women – 9,500 out of 44,400
  • 2017: The number of apps created by women – 43,800 out of 112,000
  • Total Percentage Growth – 461%



  • 2016: The number of apps created by women – 39,000 out of 135,400
  • 2017: The number of apps created by women – 105,300 out of 182,500
  • Total Percentage Growth – 270%



  • 2016: The number of apps created by women – 20,500 out of 115,000
  • 2017: The number of apps created by women – 83,200 out of 162,300
  • Total Percentage Growth – 406%



  • 2016: The number of apps created by women – 17,620 out of 123,200
  • 2017: The number of apps created by women – 79,820 out of 182,530
  • Total Percentage Growth – 453%



  • 2016: The number of apps created by women – 28,125 out of 89,670
  • 2017: The number of apps created by women – 73,200 out of 190,630
  • Total Percentage Growth – 260%



  • 2016: The number of apps created by women – 3,250 out of 21,070
  • 2017: The number of apps created by women – 15,176 out of 85,710
  • Total Percentage Growth – 467%

The trends of growth are promising enough for an optimistic view of inclusion of women who are taking it upon themselves to break the gender barrier and following their dreams and interests. It is important that the world of app development take into account the diversity of ideas that would make their way into the field as more and more women make their way into the man’s world that the tech arena was known to be!

Abhinav Girdhar

Founder and CEO of Appy Pie

App Builder

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