Bootstrapped 2M downloads app, no funding, no employees. From 0 to $1M Total

12 June 2024
$1MRevenue 7 Years
Mobile AppsCategory
SubscriptionsBusiness Model
FlutterTech stack
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Rootd Website
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👀 How was the idea born?

Ania Wysocka, the creator of Rootd, was in her last year studying International Relations and dreaming of a career at the UN when she began experiencing panic attacks unexpectedly
She tried to find help on her phone, looking for an app that could explain or help her manage what she was going through, but she couldn't find any. Other resources were either hard to get, too expensive, or both. Living far from home on student loans and without a family doctor, Ania felt lost and alone.

To try and understand her condition, Ania began researching this problem and talked to mental health experts through counseling.

While at university, Ania got more involved in graphic design and web development, turning this hobby into something serious. She took a job at a digital agency after graduating. However, the idea of creating a digital tool to help herself and others remained with her. A few years after her first panic attack, she began concepting the initial designs for what would eventually become Rootd.

🔮 Building the first version

Rootd began with sketches and notes that I made with paper and markers, including drawings and wireframes in my notebook. One day, I drew a grumpy monster, and that character has evolved into Ron, Rootd's mascot. Ron now acts as a friendly companion and supporter for users as they navigate through the app
Founder avatar
Ania WysockaFounder
Rootd's mascot
Ania: For the first version, I transformed the sketches from my notebooks into actual wireframes and mockups using Photoshop. Next, I teamed up with a student developer to turn these designs into a functional app. We then published the app on the App Store and Google Play, launching it on World Mental Health Day
The initial version of the app didn't have as many features or functions as Rootd does today, but it included the essential elements of stigma-breaking design and accessibility. The big red panic attack button, which is still a central feature of the app, was free to use. Rootd began with a specific focus on providing relief from panic attacks, and this resonated with users, earning a lot 5-star reviews
Rootd has 36k+ reviews
Ania: Rootd is bootstrapped, and I’d built this first version with only a few thousand dollars. All my activities across the business shared the theme of maximum impact for minimum cost. Looking back, that helped build a strong foundation for Rootd to thrive from.

🚀 Launch - Rootd's way

Ania: I launched the first version of Rootd on World Mental Health Day because it gave a clear and compelling story for the launch-day press release. I continued to write press releases about major updates for years afterward
At the beginning, my main priorities were to target the niche of "panic attack" and "panic attack relief" through the app’s keywords and other App Store Optimization strategies. I also focused to ensure that every user had a 5 star experience and would write a review reflecting that. I responded to every single review and actively started conversations with users whenever possible.