Since it’s launch earlier this month, Pokémon GO has become the most popular mobile game of all time, making up to $6 million a day just in the U.S. alone, according to Forbes.
With it’s quick rise to popularity, 23-year-old entrepreneur Braydon Batungbacal saw an opportunity. He and his partner Nick DiVona spent 12 hours building PokéRadar, an app that helps Pokémon GO players track down and catch rare Pokémon. The app has gotten so popular that it has garnered over 10 million users since launching two weeks ago.
“Most billion dollar startups for reference took months to get their first 1 million users. We did that in 2 days,” Batungbacal told NextShark. “We’ve collectively had over 120 years of usage time to this point, rapidly climbing each day. The growth is not stopping and we’ve continued to hold a top 5 spot in the App Store for free apps with Android just recently being released and climbing very fast.”
Since then, Batungbacal has recruited an all-star team of young developers including former Tinder developer Mohammad Adib, 20, who built the Android iteration of the app. They now have eight people on their team and have been working day and night to keep their servers up. They’re currently spending roughly $1,000 a day on server costs.
“On the 3rd or 4th day this came out, Braydon was at my place and refreshed the page for new users. We were getting 100 to 200 new users every second. I was blown away,” Adib told NextShark.
The way the app works is simple — Pokémon locations are submitted by users, which then appear on the map. In order to ensure submissions can be trusted, there’s an icon that shows how many people found the tip helpful, so the higher the rating, the more likely the submission is legit. Using crowdsourcing to get data is possibly the biggest reason why PokéRadar will not get shut down by Niantic any time soon.
“There is another huge competitor out there, but they’re leveraging the Pokémon GO public API – which required hacking (app decompiling, connection sniffing, reverse engineering, etc) to work,” Batungbacal said. “They’ll either be shut don by a cease and desist soon, or Niantic will patch that portion of their API that is being maliciously used. We rely on crowd sourced information only, which prevents us from falling over since we aren’t using patch able game exploits.”
Both Batungbacal and Adib are incredibly accomplished for their age. Batungbacal started his first company at 16 and started developing apps shortly after. His app portfolio has surpassed 30 million downloads and made over $500,000 in revenue in 2013 alone. Adib taught himself how to code Android apps in high school and got 100,000 in two weeks for his first successful app, Sidebar. At 19, he purchased a Lamborghini Gallardo, his lifelong dream car, with all his hard earned money.
While the growth of their app shows no signs of slowing down, the team admits that their success will be dependent on whether the popularity of Pokémon Go lasts. They’ve already formed a company and are monetizing via ads very soon.
“If this lasts longer than 2 or 3 months. We have some more 3rd party business focused ideas in mind,” Batungbacal said.
Unfortunately, despite quickly hitting the top 25 most downloaded apps on the Google Play store, their app was pulled down without any specific reason why.
“There was no specific reason other than ‘impersonation’. There are a 1000 apps that copied us so maybe they thought we are impersonating other apps. Its not fair, at all.” Adib said.