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Son Ca Vu: Democratizing App Development Worldwide

Son Ca Vu: Democratizing App Development Worldwide


Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs. 

Spiffy here! I’m back once more with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Son Ca Vu, co-founder and CEO of Alta. Let’s see what she is doing to make the world a better place! 

Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Son Ca! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?

Son Ca: Happy to be with you, Spiffy! While over four billion people around the world have access to the internet, there is a massive shortage of software engineers to build new applications. Today, there are only 24.5 million software engineers globally. While 90% of the world accesses the internet on mobile devices, there is no simple or affordable option for entrepreneurs around the world to build a mobile app to scale their businesses. That's why we built Alta, an AI-powered tool to build mobile apps without code. We seek to promote inclusive economic growth and productive employment by growing and supporting the next generation of no-code app developers.

Spiffy: That is awesome! What motivates you to tackle this challenge?

Son Ca: I have always loved building things. While I took some computer science classes as a college student at Stanford, I ended up pursuing business and did my MBA at Wharton. After working in management consulting, non-profit in Africa, and product management at several tech companies, I realized the importance of empowering non-technical people to build their own applications that solve their business problems. Instead of relying on engineers, it’s very exciting to work with business people and founders who are passionate about their ideas to help them design and launch their applications in Alta.

Spiffy: How would you describe the impact of your work?

Son Ca: Alta democratizes app development. Instead of spending $100,000 and over six months to hire engineers to build the first version of a mobile app, we offer tools powered by AI to enable anyone that knows PowerPoint and Excel to build mobile applications much faster and affordably. We've worked with high school students in Southeast Asia as well as product managers in the US to teach them to build mobile apps so they can quickly bring their ideas to life.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by Alta. What impact does that make? 

Son Ca: We recently were selected for the AWS Impact Accelerator for Women Founders. As one of 25 companies chosen out of thousands of applicants, we received a monetary investment from AWS as well as business and technical advice on how to reach startups and help them scale globally.

Spiffy: Congrats on that distinction! Thanks for speaking with me today, Son Ca—it’s been an honor!

Son Ca Vu is Alta's co-founder and CEO. She previously studied management science and engineering at Stanford and completed her MBA at Wharton. As a former product manager and consultant at companies including Zillow, Houzz, Amazon, and Accenture, Son Ca strongly believes that anyone who can use Powerpoint and Excel has the skillset to build online apps. That is why she founded Alta, a no-code company whose mission is to empower anyone to build mobile apps without code. (Nominated by Sumia Shaikh of Visible Hands. First published on the Ladderworks website on March 31, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.