Appen was founded in Sydney in 1996 by linguist Dr. Julie Vonwiller and she was later joined by her engineer husband, Chris Vonwiller. Motivated by their passion for language and technology, the Vonwillers saw an opportunity to develop linguistic technologies to support product innovation in new markets around the world.
In 2011, Appen merged with the Butler Hill Group, which was based in Ridgefield, Connecticut and Seattle, Washington and founded by Lisa Braden-Harder in 1993. Lisa was a member of the pioneering team in grammar checking technology at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center before starting a linguistic consulting practice. After the merger, the combined business became Appen Butler Hill and expanded its business scope to include language resources, search and text.
As the social web became an increasingly bigger part of people’s lives, Appen looked to grow its combined services and capacity in global crowd- sourcing and social media technology to empower people to connect and share across the internet. 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.
Appen Butler Hill was rebranded as Appen in 2013, and it went public on the ASX in January, 2015.