Farewell, Vora

Mark Halonen
Mar 11, 2019 · 3 min read

I’ve sold Vora.

A little less than 2 years ago, I embarked on the journey of Vora. Operating under my standard strategy of delivering ASAP in order to get feedback, it took a month from the first commit to publishing Vora on the app stores. The thrill of getting those first users was electric. Someone I’ve never even talked to was using my app and liking it. I incessantly logged into the Firebase Console and refreshed the user database. 10 users, 20 users, 50 users. At the time I was freelancing, so I was able to dedicate a good amount of time into the app. I created cool features like Vora Social, data visualizations, weight tracking and custom data. I loved using and developing the app, and growth looked great. Vora was the best fasting app available and had several distinctive features. I launched the pro version of the app about 6 months after the initial release, and having paying users was another thrill. I incessantly checked the Play Store billing page, getting a little rush whenever I saw a new little green check box that showed a user had paid the $5 to upgrade to advanced analytics.

Since all the data is stored server-side, I can summarize the usage of Vora:

274,000 organic users logged 4.4 million fasts, totaling 10,000 years of fasting and losing 219,000 pounds!

In a country plagued by obesity, this will perhaps be the most impactful software I ever write.

So why sell?

I stopped using Vora myself about a year ago, and along with that I stopped pushing updates. All along, I was really just scratching my own itch, and it was just natural to make it available to the world. I’m still on the intermittent fasting diet, I just fell out of the habit of using Vora and realized it wasn’t necessary for me.

Another factor was that really stellar competition like BodyFast and Circle started popping up. They were backed by companies and working on their apps full-time. I looked at the revenue of Vora and realized that competing in my free time wasn’t a sustainable strategy. I began to think that selling Vora to a venture company might make sense. So I mentioned Vora could be for sale in a podcast and posted Vora on TransferSlot, and Keith Rumjhan at OliveX heard it was for sale and reached out. We settled on a price, and within a month, Vora changed ownership.

It feels weird. My largest accomplishment is now in the hands of someone else.

Of course I ask the “what if’s”. What if I tried this feature or that feature or a different monetization strategy. What if I put a better effort into polishing it. What if it supported me full-time.

But, empirical data spoke too strong. I hadn’t touched it in almost a year. It was time to let it go.

It’s nice to close out the project that felt like a loose end, untapped potential. I’ll take the cash and wait and see if another project sparks my interest, with the awesome experience of building, growing, and then selling a software product. OliveX can have a huge head start on a health and fitness app.

With Vora in the rear view, I’m better able to focus on things on the horizon. Like my fricken sweet new trailer sauna.

Fasting and sauna. Healthy stressors for our antifragile bodies.

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