4 Surprising App Success Stories

2 min read

Most people tuned into culture today spend a good amount of time accessing mobile apps on Internet-connected devices. In fact, studies have shown that mobile users spend 90 percent of their time in apps as opposed to browsing the mobile web. However, what many people don’t realise is that several of the apps that they regularly use were slated to fail — and there success was somewhat of a shock to tech experts everywhere. The following four app success stories were surprising to many people.

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The app name might not sound like much, but Pou is one of the greatest — and most surprising — app success stories out there. Pou does essentially what the Japanese digital pet invention Tamagotchi does — it allows player to care for and grow an alien pet (that looks like a brown rock). Pou was created by Paul Salameh, a 24-year-old Lebanese developer, who predicted that Pou might have a somewhat addictive nature. The app costs $1.99 in the Apple app store, and it is free for Android users (with in-app purchases). While the app doesn’t sound like much (caring for a brown rock), it caught on with people — it’s spent a good amount of time in the Top 5 Paid iOS apps list, and it sees between 260,000-320,000 downloads per day by Android users.


Periscope is a live video streaming app that was bought and launched by Twitter. Periscope’s success is not a surprise because its concept was odd — it’s surprising because its technology is very impressive. The app was created by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein, who wanted people to be able to digitally “teleport” or see what was going on somewhere else in real time. The technology to create and broadcast live videos to anywhere in the world is staggering — but Beykpour and Bernstein were able to do it, and they quickly raised a seed round of investments from angel investors before getting bought by Twitter. Today, Periscope has 1.9 million daily active users

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The Hours app was created by Jeremy Olson. It is a time-tracking app that is useful for small businesses and freelancers who need to keep track of the hours they work. The reason the success of Hours is surprising is because Olson and his team shelved Hours multiple times, thinking that it would never be able to be built (to their standards). After several years, however, Hours was finally built — and despite being an independent developer, Olson was able to launch the app to success by focusing on marketing it. The Hours team built an email list by regularly writing optimised blog posts, then announcing the app to subscribers. Olson also reached out to press outlets, like Forbes and TechCrunch, who featured the app. Eventually, Hours became the number-one grossing business app in the Apple app store, and it reached the 27th spot overall.


iFart is a whoopie cushion app that people can download to their smartphones in order to make a variety of fart sounds. Sounds silly, right? Well, it might be silly, but the app is beloved, and it can bring in more than $10,000 every single day. iFart costs $1.99 to download from the Apple app store, and it once made $40,000 in just two days (over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in 2008). iFart’s success is surprising, since who guessed that so many people wanted to pay to have a whoopie cushion app on their phone?

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