A startup founder says his app was downloaded thousands of times after he met an Apple employee and it was featured in the App Store

Oliver SouthernChoredOliver Southern is CEO and founder of Random Array, which developed Chored.

The founder of household bill-splitting app Chored told Business Insider that he saw downloads for his app drastically increase following a meeting with Apple’s European App Store Manager.

Chored, an app that allows housemates to pay bills to utility companies and delegate household jobs to other flatmates, was featured on the App Store on October 12.

Oliver Southern, CEO and founder of Random Array, which owns Chored, said: “I met the [European] App Store manager, this guy James Goodrum, at the beginning of September. He loved the app.

“Obviously we said: ‘Do you think we could get featured [on the App Store]? What’s going to happen?’

“He [Goodrum] said: ‘It’s not up to me, it has to go to a room, and then they talk it through.’

“I went on holiday for a week and while I was there we got featured. We were number one — best new download in the App Store for the UK, which was amazing. I went away with hundreds of users on iOS and came back with thousands.”

Southern worked in sales and finance at Yahoo for five years before joining Telefonica and eventually setting up Random Array.

He said he was able to leverage his connections at Yahoo to get the meeting with Apple, which took place at Apple UK’s head office on Regent Street in London.

Chored Bill SplitChoredThis is what the Chored app looks like.

“An old friend of mine at Yahoo introduced me to James, who was totally professional about it all.

“He said: ‘Come in and have a chat’.

“When we got in it was straight down to business. He just said: ‘Right, show me the app’. So I talked him through the app and showed him the functionality. His response was so encouraging. He said he was aware of the marketplace and other apps trying to do house sharing stuff but he said: ‘Your app goes further than the others in this space so you’ve got a really good chance of being featured.’ Fast forward two weeks and we were so I guess he meant it.”

Chored, an app aimed largely at student house sharers, is competing in the same space as rival firm Splittable, which raised $US1.2 million (£800,000) last week.

After being featured in the App Store, Chored’s downloads soared, peaking at around 700-800 installs a day.

Southern said 66% of downloaders have continued as active users. He was unable to say exactly how many iOS downloads Chored was getting prior to being featured in the App Store because it had only launched two weeks earlier. However, the Android app was getting roughly 30-50 downloads a day.

Apple’s London office

Southern said the Apple office was very understated compared to Google’s offices in London. “You wouldn’t even know they were Apple’s offices,” he said.

There are over a million apps on the App Store so getting featured greatly boosts a company’s visibility.

Apple doesn’t provide details of how to get featured on the App Store, nor does it notify publishers when their apps are about to be promoted. One startup called StyleIt said it only realised it had been promoted on the App Store when its app started running slowly and its servers were crashing.

Southern said he is confident that Chored was featured on the App Store as a direct result of the meeting with Goodrum.

Chored has raised £150,000 to date and it now looking to secure more capital to grow its business further.

The company’s business model involves charging a nominal amount per transaction processed through the app, much like a booking fee.

Business Insider has contacted Apple to clarify how it chooses which apps are showcased in its App Store and is waiting to hear back.

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