Appen (company)

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Appen Limited
IndustryArtificial intelligence
Founded1996; 26 years ago (1996)
FounderJulie Vonwiller Edit this on Wikidata
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease A$599.9 million (2020)
Number of employees
Increase 1125 (2020)
Footnotes / references

Appen Limited (formerly known as Appen Butler Hill) is a publicly traded data company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) under the code APX.[2]

Appen provides or improves data used for the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence products. Data types include speech and natural language data, image and video data, text and alphanumeric data and relevance data to improve search and social media engines.[3]


The company's global headquarters is in Chatswood, New South Wales, 10 kilometres north of the central business district of Sydney, Australia. The United States headquarters is in Kirkland, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, and there are also US offices in San Francisco, California and Detroit, Michigan. Appen also has offices in Beijing, China; Cavite, Philippines; Exeter, England; and Tokyo, Japan.[3]


At the end of 2017, revenues were AUD 166.6 million and the company had more than 350 full-time employees and over 1,000,000 approved flexible workers in the Appen crowd.[4][5][better source needed] Tasks are performed in more than 180 languages and 130 countries.[6]

Most of the company's revenues are earned offshore and clients include eight of the top ten largest technology companies.[7][8][9]

Appen's customers use machine learning for a variety of use cases including automatic speech recognition (ASR), computer vision, increasing conversions in eCommerce, delivering more meaningful and personalized advertising, enhancing social media feeds or improving customer service capabilities with tools like chatbots and virtual assistants.[10][better source needed]

For machines to demonstrate artificial intelligence, they need to be programmed with human-quality training data that helps them learn.[11] Appen uses crowdsourcing to collect and improve data and has access to a skilled crowd of over than 1 million part-time contractors who collect, annotate, evaluate, label, rate, test, translate and transcribe speech, image, text and video data to turn it into effective machine learning training data for a variety of use cases.[4][failed verification]


Appen was founded in Sydney in 1996 by linguist Dr. Julie Vonwiller.[12][13] She was joined by her husband Chris Vonwiller who left his job at Telstra in 2000 to join Appen full-time and is currently Non-Executive Chairman of Appen.[6][14]

In 2011, Appen merged with the Butler Hill Group, which was based in Ridgefield, Connecticut and Seattle, Washington and originally founded by Lisa Braden-Harder in 1993.[15] Lisa was a member of the pioneering team in grammar checking technology at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center before the Butler Hill Group and stayed on as CEO until 2015.[16] After the merger, the combined business became Appen Butler Hill and expanded its business scope to include language resources, search and text.[17][better source needed]

In 2012, Appen acquired Wikman Remer, a firm based in San Rafael, California, which developed tools and platforms for employee engagement, online moderation and curation.[18]

Appen Butler Hill was re-branded as Appen in 2013, and it went public on the ASX on January 7, 2015, led by Lisa Braden-Harder.[19][better source needed]

In July 2015 Mark Brayan joined Appen as CEO and continues to hold that position today.[20]

In October 2016 Appen acquired a UK based transcription services company called Mendip Media Group (MMG)[21][22]

Appen also acquired Leapforce in November 2017 for U.S. $80M, adding additional capabilities in search relevance and growing its crowd to over 1,000,000 workers.[23][24]

Appen acquired data annotation company called Leapforce in 2017.[25] Appen acquired Figure Eight in 2019.[26][27] In 2021,Appen announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Quadrant, a global leader in mobile location data, Point-of-Interest data, and corresponding compliance services.[28]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Appen Limited (23 February 2021). "Appen 2020 Annual Report" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-04-20. Retrieved 7 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Share Price & Information - ASX". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  3. ^ a b "Appen Outperforms in 2017, Breaks Through Billion Dollar Valuation | Slator". Slator. 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  4. ^ a b Tan, Oliver. "How Does A Machine Learn?". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  5. ^ "Building Culture in Language Services Companies: An interview with Mark Brayan, CEO of Appen". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  6. ^ a b "Appen 2017 Annual Report" (PDF). Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). April 17, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  7. ^ "Appen rides the rise of machine learning". Financial Review. 2017-05-26. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  8. ^ "Thomson Reuters names the world's top 100 technology companies". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  9. ^ "Mid-market awards finalist preview: Pronto Software, Appen, ITAC Services, Longwarry Food Park vie for $50-$100 million category". Financial Review. 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  10. ^ Ireland, Kathy (May 12, 2017). "Enhancing the eCommerce Shopping Experience". Worldwide Business with Kathy Ireland. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  11. ^ "Is it time to buy AI company Appen? - Fairmont Equities". Fairmont Equities. 2018-04-19. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  12. ^ "Appen shares up 6 per cent, CEO tips search and self-driving cars as future growth drivers". Financial Review. 2016-02-29. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  13. ^ "Julie Vonwiller: Executive Profile & Biography - Bloomberg". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  14. ^ "Profit up 28 per cent at web search specialist Appen". Financial Review. 2015-08-28. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  15. ^ "APX.AU Company Profile & Executives - Appen Ltd. - Wall Street Journal". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  16. ^ "Butler Hill Group completes merger with Appen, Inc". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  17. ^ "Lisa Braden Harder". LinkedIn. July 6, 2018. Retrieved July 6, 2018.
  18. ^ "Appen and Butler Hill Merge Operations To Create Global Leader in Linguistic Solutions | Technology Transactions". Archived from the original on 2018-11-26. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  19. ^ "Introducing Social Instinct: Provider of Social Media Solutions Blends Multilingual Human Moderation with Innovative Technology". PRWeb. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  20. ^ Rose, Sally (2015-01-07). "Appen off to a steady start as IPO fever continues in 2015". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  21. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "${Instrument_CompanyName} ${Instrument_Ric} People |". U.S. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  22. ^ Bullock, Lara (2016-10-10). "Tech company acquires transcription service provider". Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  23. ^ "Appen announcse strategic UK acquisition". Finance News Network. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  24. ^ "Appen to acquire new acquisitions for US$80m". Finance News Network. 2017-11-29. Retrieved 2018-07-06.
  25. ^ "Appen acquires Figure Eight for up to $300M, bringing two data annotation companies together". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  26. ^ April 2019, 23rd (23 April 2019). "Figure Eight acquired by Appen". FinTech Futures. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  27. ^ "Australia – AI and machine learning platform Appen acquires Figure Eight". Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  28. ^ "Appen to Acquire Quadrant to Expand Mobile-Location Based Data Collection Offering". 25 August 2021.