Celebrate! Thunkable Turns Seven

We are so excited to celebrate our seventh birthday with all our Creators! And what better way to celebrate than by taking a look through the years? At Thunkable, we believe the destination is just as important as the journey, and we never want to lose sight of our journey of building Thunkable’s team, product, and — most importantly — our Community. 
Written by
Ariel Gonzalez
Published on
March 8, 2023

We are so excited to celebrate our seventh birthday with all our Creators! And what better way to celebrate than by taking a look through the years? At Thunkable, we believe the destination is just as important as the journey, and we never want to lose sight of our journey of building Thunkable’s team, product, and — most importantly — our Community. 

Let’s dive into all we have to celebrate on Thunkable’s seventh birthday…

It All Started with a Block

Arun Saigal and WeiHua Li met in 2011 at MIT while working in a lab focused on making it easy for kids to learn how to code and build technology. Together, Saigal and Li were part of the App Inventor team. However, what started as a research project quickly gained traction among users who loved the ease and simplicity of building a mobile app. And they wanted more. Knowing the possible impact this project could have outside an academic setting, Saigal and Li decided to create Thunkable as Co-Founders and as CEO and CTO, respectively.

Thunkable’s no code native app builder was officially launched in March of 2016 to make app development accessible to the commercial world. These days, many people ask us, “Why the name, ‘Thunkable’? What does it mean?”

Let’s get into it.

What’s in a Name?

By now, you’ve likely heard us use the phrase, “If you can think it, you can Thunk it.” But what do we mean by that? Well, the name stemmed from the word “thunk.” Thunk is both a computer programming term and a sound. The term “thunk,” according to Wikipedia “is a subroutine used to inject a calculation into another subroutine.” In layperson’s terms, a thunk is code wrapped around more code. And the well-loved THUNK sound was incorporated to showcase when blocks of code on our drag and drop app builder connect.  

But what about -able, you ask? Saigal and Li quickly saw the potential and accelerated speed in which creators can build an app with Thunkable compared to traditional coding. Saigal and Li wanted to capitalize on this capability for future Creators. Making the masses able to build, able to go from idea to product. Hence, Thunkable was created to provide individuals with the tech they need to go forth and create the mobile solutions needed for any use case. 

Who’s the Beaver?

You may have seen Thunkable’s well-loved fuzzy beaver friend holding a phone and wondered how a beaver fits into all of this. Beavers are nature’s engineers, and much like our Creators, they are building something dam great!

So we added Billy Beaver to the team as the Ambassador of Building Buzz. (Read our blog about him to learn more about his fun B.E.A.V.E.R. ways!)

Seven Years of Building the Blocks of App Creation

Saigal, Li, and the Thunkable team are on a mission to turn passive consumers into active creators. 3.5 million users later, a diverse group of talented enthusiasts, designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and educators, and students are using Thunkable all around the globe — including countries such as India, Thailand, the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, and more!

Over the course of seven years, our Creators have grown with us and so has our Thunkable Team. Let’s take a look at our Community and team and hear some words from our founders.

Creating Community

Coming from such varied backgrounds, the Creators using Thunkable share one key sentiment: they feel empowered to bring ideas to life through no code mobile app creation and to innovate without fear.

Every day, we have individuals living out their missions of becoming active creators of the digital future. Not only are we proud of Thunkable Creators building this digital future they want to see, but we are thrilled to see them making impacts for the betterment of society and their communities. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Bringing Tech Skills To the Masses

Technovation holds an annual competition for girls from around the globe where they are asked to build an app to solve a ​​community problem. Within the Technovation curriculum, these girls utilize Thunkable tutorials to understand the fundamentals of coding and build an app.

Similarly, the Big Red Group is utilizing Thunkable to coach the next generation of entrepreneurs in India. Students in the Big Red Group entrepreneurship program leave their three-day prototyping sprint feeling empowered. 

Bringing Change to a Community

Thunkable Creator Anwar Al-Haddad helped accelerate the adoption of solar power for citizens in war-torn Yemen. His no code mobile app, PV Solar, has been downloaded more than 60,000 times and has allowed for more reliable access to electricity for the citizens of Yemen.

Another Creator, Ayush Sanghavi, was featured in the Huffington Post for having developed an app at just 14 years of age, to help those who require a vegan diet find hundreds of branded substitutes for the foods they want to replace, using his Veggie Alternatives app.

Creator Carlin McLellan of Toocan Music touches the lives of children as he makes apps that are more inclusive and accessible.  His music learning apps for web and mobile are intended for people of all abilities. His mission is to meet the individual learning needs of people with disabilities and to help create a society that is inclusive and inspiring for all. 

We are so proud of and amazed by the fantastic apps our Creators build and have featured many of them in our App of the Year Awards.

Mobile App Building Capabilities

Throughout our seven years of growth, Thunkable has made leaps and bounds when it comes to  bringing Creators the capabilities they need to build impactful and powerful apps. Throughout our seven years, we have proudly:

  • Provided the ability to publish to both iOS and Android platforms
  • Brought Creators the ability to integrate with their favorite tools such as Figma, Webflow, and even GPT3 for more powerful abilities to enhance an app
  • And released Thunkable Organizations to empower citizen developers and allow teams to collaborate on a single app to capture the synergy of teams.

Building the Dream Team

We have grown rapidly from a team of two to more than 40 teammates in seven years, from several different countries around the globe. We pride ourselves on building a great team, and we always prioritize face time across the organization. While we are a hybrid team, we do make time to bring the Thunkable team together in person. Whether it is bonding on roller coaster rides, seeing who can successfully slide an Oreo cookie from their forehead to their mouth in less than a minute (yup, it’s possible; check out our Instagram), partaking in a spontaneous karaoke session, or bowling together, we love to get the team together and build memories we never want to forget.

thunkable team offsite 2023
Thunkable team dinner
2023 kickoff San Francisco
Thunkable team at Universal Studios
Thunkable 4 year celebration
Where it all began
Y combinator


Thunkable — Where Everything Clicks

As Saigal shares, “The journey Thunkable has taken from year one to now, seven years later, is fantastic, and I couldn’t ask for a better community, team, and investors’ support in our journey to making mobile app development accessible to the masses. Our mission here at Thunkable has always been to give Creators the building blocks to develop something great. Not everyone has the coding skills or Computer Science background, but everyone has an idea that, if given the right tool, I truly believe can make a difference in the life of the Creator and the lives of those in their community.” 

Similarly, Li states, “I’m excited every day by the stories here at Thunkable and seeing what Creators are building. I love to see Creators inspired and empowered to build. Any individual with an idea can make an app to solve a problem and change their world for the better and it’s humbling to see Creators do this with Thunkable.”

Thank You for Seven Energizing Years

We are so grateful for the seven years of growth in the no code app creation space and are excited to continue bringing our Community the best no code mobile app development tool for bringing your ideas to life with just a THUNK of a block.

Don’t just think it — Thunk it!

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Written by
Ariel Gonzalez

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