Yes, Oregon’s so-called Silicon Forest keeps sprouting new growth. With more than 1,300 tech-focused companies—from chipmakers to B2B software juggernauts—there’s no lack of grand ambition around here. But one local appmaker has her eye on a more specific goal: serving an oft-overlooked audience.
That, at least, is who Rebecca Alexander hopes to reach with her fledgling company, AllGo. AllGo’s app identifies size-friendly businesses via community reviews and ratings to provide people of size a resource “to find places that are designed with their bodies in mind.” Alexander says she’s aiming to raise $500,000 in a new round of fundraising starting this winter—one of her company’s first major benchmark goals in its quest to make the world a more accessible place for plus-size people.
“The app lets you hear from other plus-sized people what a space is like,” says the 31-year-old. “If a friend [invited] me to try out a new restaurant, I found myself going on Yelp and trying to see around people’s pictures of delicious-looking food to see what the chairs were like, or whether tables in booths move. And that was just really inefficient.”
What AllGo has accomplished so far (last year 1,100 Kickstarter supporters, more than $55,000 raised in 19 days) has attracted the attention of well-known size activists Tess Holliday and Roxane Gay. Meanwhile, Alexander gave us the scoop on three other locally made apps and web-based services she’s using right now to navigate the city.
“[MilkRun] connects local growers and farmers directly with their consumers, and it’s wonderful food. You get what’s seasonal and fresh and unique, and your creativity is still allowed to flourish. It’s just an incredible thing that [creator Julia Niiro] has done. Because of the hyperlocal nature of it, it’s like a CSA meets Blue Apron. [But] Blue Apron can be very predictable, and it doesn’t allow for the sort of ingenuity that I think a lot of Portland home cooks have.” Web only, localmilkrun.com
“You can sort of virtually walk around the city on this app. It’s a project with the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and they [have] documented artist information for public art all around the city. I was home when I downloaded the app, and I saw the little dots on the map and I clicked on them, and I’ve seen these pieces of art multiple times and never knew who the artist was, or what inspired them, or when it was created. This app tells you all that information.” Free on Apple App Store and GooglePlay
“I’m the person who will take a laptop into the bar and work from like 6 to 10 p.m. I would prefer a loud bar to a coffee shop any day, which is kind of weird, but it is who I am. Workfrom is designed specifically with remote workers in mind, so they review places on qualities that are important to people who are working outside of an office, like wi-fi speed, and outlets, and other kinds of things.” Free on Apple App Store and GooglePlay