Equality-Driven App Wins Icelandic Startup Competition

An app called Heima, that helps families or housemates manage the “mental load” of housework is the winning idea at this year’s Gulleggið startup competition. Heima (Home in English) was thought up by Sigurlaug Jóhannsdóttir, Birgitta Rún Sveinbjörnsdóttir, and Alma Dóra Ríkharðsdóttir, who wanted to support the struggle for equality in a fun way.

“Studies continue to show that within families, women take on both more chores and more of the mental load involved in managing the household,” Sigurlaug told Iceland Review. “The app asks users a few questions about their home and how they manage it: how large the home is, how much and how often they want to clean, and then it creates a schedule.” Users then earn points for completing chores and can track what percentage of the household duties they are completing.

Alma Dóra and Sigurlaug attended primary school together and reconnected after they both moved to Boston. “We started talking about our shared interest in innovation and equality, and in August Alma pitched this idea to me and we decided to register for Gulleggið.” They got UX designer Birgitta on board to help develop the idea.

More than just a competition, Gulleggið offers workshops, training, and advice to participants over a period of six weeks, at the end of which they present their developed ideas to a panel of startup experts who name ten finalists and one winner. Heima’s first-place win comes with an ISK 1 million ($7,200/€6,100) cash prize, which Sigurlaug says will be used to develop the app further. Though it’s just in its early stages, the team aims to release Heima next year.

Sigurlaug says the trio has gotten lots of positive feedback on their idea. “It’s so good to get confirmation that it’s something that is really needed in the home, that has encouraged us in this process.”

A prototype of the app is available in Icelandic.