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How entrepreneur Mat Peterson turned parents' love of their children into a successful app line

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Shiny Things' founder Mat Peterson and his team have designed an app series that makes learning maths fun for children. Here's what Mat has learned about developing an app business.

In 2012, Mat and his Sydney-based team of 12 took note of the nation’s emerging mathematical skills gap and developed a suite of apps to help the millennials (born between 1981–1998) that will one day run the country.

Mat is quick to point out that the apps work in conjunction with the classroom, not instead of it. 

“Teachers do a fantastic job, but the number of tools they’ve got in terms of technology, or rather the quality of those tools, isn’t that high,” he says. “One of our goals is to fill that void and ensure they can teach maths concepts to the students need, because each student obviously learns slightly differently.”

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Value for everyone

The Quick Maths series is also useful for children with learning difficulties. 

“Kids with special needs love engaging with iPads because they get that instantaneous feedback and they can learn at their own pace which is really important,” explains Mat. “However, we can only provide a small piece of the puzzle. There are many different ways of teaching the concepts and we’re just one of them.”

So what is Mat’s secret to creating great apps? “Be patient. Your first one is probably not going to work but if you keep at it, and keep improving and striving to learn as much as possible then you probably will succeed. Like all business really.”

1. Quick Maths

Quick Maths is an app that teaches students math basics. The whole app range currently sells for RRP $2.49 a piece, or RRP $6.49 for the bundle.

2. Quick Maths Plus

Quick Maths Plus is a sequel to the original, offering more advanced challenges for the seasoned math wiz. It's rating at the time of publication is 4.5 stars.

3. Quick Fractions

Quick Fractions offers students the opportunity to make learning this difficult area of mathematics fun and engaging.

4. Quick Clocks

Quick Clocks helps children with time-telling and arithmetic skills.

Dealing with "Brain Drain"

Shiny Things is Mat’s latest tech venture after starting his first software company in 2003, so he’s no stranger to the challenges of running a start-up. While he says cash flow is obviously a big thing for new businesses, in the tech game, the brain drain is an even bigger issue.

“If you’ve got great experience and you’re free to move to the US, the Googles and the Apples or Facebook will poach you. And that means we are often left with a small selection of talent.” says Peterson.

Prices correct at time of publishing.

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