Home 30under30 2014 Brandon Cowan, 2014 Anthill 30under30 Winner

Brandon Cowan, 2014 Anthill 30under30 Winner

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What is the 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians.

Each year, we invite our readers to nominate young Australian entrepreneurs deserving of recognition for their outstanding entrepreneurial endeavours. More.

Brandon Cowan, NSW (b. 1994)

Name: Brandon Cowan
Age: 20 (Born: January 1994)
Gender: Male
State: NSW
Known for: Crazy Dog Apps

Crazy Dog Apps, which has been operating since 2010, develops apps for iOS and Android. Sounds like your run-of-the-mill app development company, right?

Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, Brandon Cowan, who owns the company, is technically the only employee and umm… he doesn’t know how to code an app.

So you must be wondering: how exactly is this company still running?

Brandon, whose AUSBUY app managed to climb to the number three spot on the AppStore, explains, “I outsource the coding and graphics design which allows me to develop apps for cheaper than other ‘big shot’ suit-wearing developers, be a self-proclaimed iOS UX expert and focus on testing and marketing.”

He describes the personality of his business — which has increased net profit by over 190 per cent in FY2014 compared to the previous one — as geeky, perfectionist and purposeful. “Purposeful because we don’t try to make lots of money – we try to make great apps and the money has followed.”

A 30under30 winner for three years in a row, Brandon revealed to Anthill that since last year’s awards, he has partnered with Taronga Zoo to develop Wildlife Witness, the world’s first global community action tool to tackle illegal wildlife trade.

This was after being selected as one of only five Australian app developers to participate in Vodafone App Aid. Together with the Taronga Conservation Society, Brandon raised $34,000 for further development of the app through a crowdfunding campaign that attracted nearly 700 supporters. The app was ready within three weeks.

And then in his recent visit to Taronga, Prince William downloaded and endorsed the app!

“I was lucky because he was already supported the fight against the illegal wildlife trade so it made it easier for Taronga to approach him and get him on board,” Brandon remarked.

How many apps do you know that have received a royal stamp of approval?

Also, since the last 30Under30s, Brandon has raised his personal profile via reality TV.

He appeared on the fifth season of Beauty and the Geek Australia… as a geek. No surprises there, right? “I couldn’t think of anything too much more buzz-building than being shown as an ‘app entrepreneur’ on prime-time TV so I settled for that.”

Brandon also does talks to share his app-making knowledge and also share his story. “I like to share my story and motivate people to not build my own ‘buzz’ but to motivate other people to build theirs. That is more important to me.”

The 20-year-old, who has seen four of his apps reach the Top 100 list, also received the Special Recognition Award for the NSW ICT Entrepreneur of the Year, presented at NSW Parliament House, alongside other more successful entrepreneurs such as Matt Barrie, Ric Richardson and David Jones.

On what motivates him as an entrepreneur, Brandon said he is driven by a desire to do what he wants and not what other people think he should be doing. “Making apps is my dream and has been for nearly four years now and I am driven by creating apps that I love.”

“Our time on this planet is limited and I don’t want to live my life living other people’s dreams. That’s why I have dropped out of university twice and pretty much rejected a job offer from Facebook’s headquarters.”

Anthill asks: Brandon Cowan, what’s your super power?

My super-power is the ability to work for up to 18 hours straight (only with breaks for brief meals and to evacuate said meals from my body) with ease. My work is my hobby – I don’t see it as work, I don’t feel like I’m working, I just love what I do and lose track of time. It is 6:20am as of time of writing and I haven’t slept yet…

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