Jonathan Zarra knew something about Pokémon Go that most people didn’t. As a beta tester this summer, the 28-year-old freelance developer had early access to the smash hit mobile game — and as a result, he could see that it offered users no way to chat with one another inside the app. And so Zarra built GoChat, an independent app that lets Pokémon Go users leave notes for each other at in-game locations.
“This is a feature that really should be there,” Zarra says. “Especially in a location-based game — this just makes sense.” Within five days, Zarra’s free app is approaching 1 million users and hitting servers with 600 requests per second. It may also drive Zarra bankrupt.