Magazine Store

Silicon 70 2020

Appen: Confidence to Deploy AI with World-Class Training Data


Artificial Intelligence is being touted as the technological savior of the world. But to harness the power of AI, companies around the world rely on training data to train AI or machine learning algorithms. An Australian company, Appen is one of the most recognized companies that are known to produce large volumes of reliable training data.

Founded in 1996 by the noted linguist, Dr. Julie Vonwiller, Appen has been the go-to company for the world’s most valuable companies for training data. The big tech companies that rely on Appen’s training data include the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe, and GumGum.

Truth is that you as a cutting-edge company may have the most appropriate algorithm. But if you train your machine with bad training data, possibilities are that the result will be short of your expectations. Hence, when it comes to AI, it is crucial to have reliable data.

The Appen Difference

There are a few companies that have the capability to produce reliable training data. What sets Appen apart is its platform which collects and labels images, text, speech, audio, video, and sensor data to help companies build the best AI system that can be built.

The Chaston, Australia-based company has been the name behind over 6,000 machine learning projects. It uses over one million contributors in over 130 countries and supports over 180 different languages.

For Social Change and Progress

Appen has over a million contractors that it engages with globally. As the workforce is incredibly diverse, with crowd workers in 130 countries who speak over 180 languages and dialects the company is aware of the issues that affect the global community. It has a diversity policy that has 61% of women and 39% men in its employee count. Appen is one of the very few tech organizations founded by a woman. In 2019, the company came up with a new initiative in 2019 to develop female leaders.

Appen also has partnerships with organizations like Translators without Borders and the National Council of Disability Affairs in Manila, Philippines through which it drives its CSR approach. Last year, its contribution to Translation Without Borders was recognized by the organization when they presented Appen with The Donor Award. Additionally, the company encourages its employees to raise awareness around a need by contacting the CSR committee.

Meet the Leader

Mark Brayan, CEO: Mark has over 25 years of experience in the field of technology and services. As the CEO of Appen, he is responsible for the company’s leadership and strategy. Before joining Appen in 2015, he was the CEO and MD of Mine Site Technologies. From 2007 to 2013, he was the CEO of Integrate Research, a company listed on the Australian Stock exchange. He began his career as a Pre-Sales Engineer at Intergraph in 1987.

He has a MBA from AGSM and Bachelor of Surveying from the University of NSW.


- Recognized as Top 100 Company to Watch for Remote Jobs from 2014 to 2019. Including #1 in 2017 and 2019

- Won The Donor Award (2019) from Translators Without Borders for Significant contribution of transcription and translation services to help TWB achieve its mission

- Won Speech Technology Magazine’s Best Speech to Text category in 2019 People’s Choice Awards

- #1 Largest service provider in the Asia Pacific region by Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) in Who’s Who in language Services and Technology: 2019 Rankings

- Named Growth Company of the Year in the 2019 Australian Growth Company Awards

- Six-time winner in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Australia Awards years 2012-2019. Recognized as #6 in Leadership and #7 in Technology Fast Female

- Three-time recipient of Deloitte Asia Pacific Technology Fast 500 (2017 - 2019)

 “With over 20 years of experience scoping and delivering more than 6,000 ML projects, we understand the complex needs of today's AI projects.”

“Our solutions provide the quality, security, and speed used by leaders in technology, automotive, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and governments worldwide.”