During the month of September, DIME is presenting a weekly feature with an influential Mississippian in the tech field. This is a web-based companion series to the “Aural Fixation” article featured in DIME’s September issue. Welcome to Silicon Jackson.
Sheena Allen is a Terry, Miss., native and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi. Through her company Sheena Allen Apps, she has produced six mobile apps that have been downloaded collectively over 2 million times via Google Play and The App Store. Her works include Insta Funds, PicSlit, Dubblen, Twt Booth, Orange Snap and mobile mainstay Words On Pics.
She began creating apps after having a random idea. She created her first app, Insta Funds, during her senior year of college.
“Originally, I wanted to be an artist, but I had a random idea for an app. I channeled my love of art into crafting new apps,” Allen explained.
The artistic influence is apparent, considering the majority of her creations give users the ability to alter videos and images, post grid style pictures and banners and create complex images with ease. Her apps have gained steady popularity and have even been used by celebrities such as Diddy, K.Michelle, Trey Songz, Kevin Hart and Stevie Johnson of the 49ers.
The company was founded in Austin and has seen great growth in a few short years. This summer the company hosted its first internship with six participants. The program provided mentorship and work experience to the group of prospective innovators.
According to the website, the app producer is currently planning to take things in a new direction with a new look and streamlined product. There are also plans for further expansion in the future. Allen is currently working on an all-new app and planning to release a packaging of smaller apps, not to mention her aspirations to begin branding in places like New York, California and The Bay Area.
Allen has also been featured on media sites, spoken at tech events and is set to be featured in an upcoming film about women in the tech industry. She was featured on MadameNoire.com and The Spotlight On Podcast, which is available on iTunes and Satchel Podcast Player.
She was featured as a V2V mentor at SXSW 2015. She has worked with fellow growing companies like the Phat Startup as a feature and panel member and Spiritpreneur School. Recently, she wrapped up filming for She Started It directed by duo Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed. The film will focus on the stories of a group of five women that began tech startup companies and was partially shot here in Mississippi.
Sheena Allen Apps is helping to expand the spectrum of what people can expect when they think of this state. Agriculture isn’t the only growing at impressive rates here. The tech field is wide open for development and it’s good to have great leaders blazing a trail for others to follow.