When Gabor Cselle showed off his app DrawChat at the Founders Den Demo Day in September, the entire presentation was pretty jokey, including a DrawChat-created “hockey-stick curve” displaying the app’s supposed growth. Well, Cselle told me yesterday that the curve has become real – and that’s a problem, since DrawChat was always meant to be a side project for Cselle and his co-founder Jeremy Orlow.
So they plan to find another owner for DrawChat through an auction on app marketplace Apptopia. The bidding starts at $10,000, with a “buy it now” price of $200,000. Cselle notes that you’re not just buying the app, but also two days of his time and Orlow’s to help with the transition.
The idea behind DrawChat is pretty straightforward. You can create sketches or draw over existing photos, then send them to your friends. Cselle likes to quote the initial TechCrunch coverage of the app, which describes DrawChat as “silly” and “frivolous.” He told me DrawChat was meant to be “a palate cleanser” after he and Orlow left Google to start their own company, and it served that role just fine – until this weekend, when he got a notification that DrawChat was running up against the usage limits in Pusher, which Cselle and Orlow use to support the app’s real-time messaging. It turns out that DrawChat had been featured in the Apple App Store in the United Kingdom.
In the last couple of days, the app has been downloaded 5,000 times, and is now seeing about 2,000 active users per day, Cselle said. Those numbers aren’t exactly stratospheric yet, but they are a big increase from the previous usage, which had been “drifting” around 100 users per day. More to the point, Cselle and Orlow want to focus on their next project, which they view as their real idea, rather than continuing to support DrawChat.
Given the growth, I wondered if Cselle had considered putting off that mysterious other project (which probably won’t launch until next year) and focusing on DrawChat, at least for the near future.
“I think we’ve put off the other idea for such a long time that we weren’t going to put it off any longer,” he said. “We basically want to build a billion-dollar thing. We don’t just want to build a popular iPhone app.”
After all, Cselle said he’s already been part of one talent acquisition, with Google’s purchase of his startup reMail. If he just wanted to make a little bit of cash, he could have stayed at Google. So with the new product, he’s aiming a lot higher.