This woman built a million-dollar app without knowing how to code

Abu Mubarik December 19, 2020
Tara Reed founded Kollecto. Photo Credit: pakwired

From working in marketing at Microsoft and Foursquare, Tara Reed knew nothing about coding but developed an app inspired by her frustration over the lack of a platform to get recommendations on cool visual art for walls. 

For instance, movie lovers can go to Netflix and have a variety of movies to choose from. So goes for music lovers who can go to Spotify while fashion lovers can go to TrunkClub. However, Reed wanted something similar to Spotify or Netflix when it comes to arts. And so she built Kollecto to give people cheap access to their own personal art buyer. She became a millionaire after building the app.

“As a young art collector myself, I was inspired to build Kollecto through personal frustration. I go to Spotify when I want recommendations for music, Netflix for movies, TrunkClub for fashion, Amazon for books, etc. But when I started Kollecto, there was no place to get recommendations on cool visual art for my walls,” she wrote on Medium.

“I figured there must be other people like me, who were interested in collecting art, but didn’t want to comb through hundreds of galleries and exhibits. So I built an app to give people affordable access to their own personal art buyer,” she added. 

Reed built her app without any code using Bubble. Her app was eventually accepted into the 500 Startups Accelerator with 400 active users and around $30k in art sales. Reed continued to refine the code-free tools she leveraged, adding Zapier, Google Spreadsheets, and SurveyGizmo.

“By the time I finished with 500 startups, I had a fully functioning app on Bubble! Now, instead of managing handfuls of tools — from website builders to form generators — everything I needed to manage was on one platform,” she said.

Following the success of the app, Kollecto, Reed got invited to host a TEDx talk. Right after the talk, she received a lot of email messages from other non-technical entrepreneurs who had ideas for apps but did not know how to build them. Reed first turned them down but she kept receiving those email messages so she thought of a way to help them.

She organized a boot camp where she taught about five entrepreneurs how to build their apps without code. Later, other entrepreneurs signed up. This gave birth to Apps Without Code, a startup school that offers webinars, coaching and an intensive boot camp, according to Forbes. As the founder and CEO of Apps Without Code, Reed has been helping build successful businesses to date.

The tech sector in the United States is traditionally dominated by White men. According to data from the National Center For Women & Information Technology study, women of color made up only about 11% of the computing and mathematical personnel in 2019, with Black women only comprising 3% of the total.

What accounts for this disproportion has been attributed to a little to no investment in majority-Black schools as well as the lack of incentivization for young Black kids to go into tech.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: December 20, 2020


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