Frame Grabber is Acquired

Frame Grabber App Icon

Frame Grabber has been acquired.

First things first: The app remains on the App Store. As of version 1.5, it is being published under a new owner. The GitHub repo stays open-source as it has since day one. Back in 2018, I made the promise of keeping the app open source as a gift to the community and I will be following through with that promise.

This has been a wild ride! After 5 years on the App Store, I felt it was time. I’ve babied the project from start to finish. It started out just for myself, I made it to take better pictures of my dumb hobbies. Back then, I had an idea but no experience in making an app. So I sat down and got to work. Who knew that I would become a professional iOS developer based on everything I learned here?

The project ends on a high note for me. The app has thousands of daily downloads, tens of thousands of daily active users, and a 4.8 star rating world-wide. It’s a good app, it solves a real problem, and it does it really well. It couldn’t be a better time to move on.

How it Happened

I wasn’t actually looking to sell, the opportunity presented itself. About a month ago, I got an email from somebody interested in acquiring the app. After some back and forth, we arrived at an agreement and I said yes. I didn’t make the decision lightly, I slept on it, I asked my friends for advice. The final offer was significant and, well, simply too hard to pass up. It makes a lot of things a lot easier to put it that way.

I’ve never sold an app. With Frame Grabber, I wanted to learn how to make an app from start to finish and here I am: at the finish line. So I got to figure out that part as well, just one part of the journey. I sat down and read up on everything I needed to know. There’s contracts, taxes, weird laws, and more paperwork to consider. Especially when selling internationally. But it was fun learning about those things. Yes, I said fun!


I can sum it up in two points:

Time: I haven’t had much time to improve the app recently. Pretty simple. Time is limited besides full-time work, friends, and extensive hobbies. As the user base grew, feature requests kept accumulating. Putting something out there and having people depend on it, is a responsibility. Users count on me as the developer and I started to feel guilty by not honoring that to the extent it deserves.

Looking Ahead: 5 years is a long time. I have felt ready to move on for some time. My journey does not end here, there are new and bigger challenges waiting for me. I want to make a new app again, start from scratch! I think about that a lot. Finding a new home for Frame Grabber would give me the necessary focus to follow through with a new app.

What About Users

What would the acquisition mean for existing users? This was the biggest question for me and the one that made me hesitate the most.

Frame Grabber is a very accessible app, in every meaning of that word. It is free of charge (it finances itself through donations). It is privacy-friendly. It is open-source. And it is super easy to use. This, in part, is why users love it so much. “Trust” is a word that comes up a lot when people send in their feedback.

I definitely did not want to betray that trust.

At the same time, the app would change, that is a given. First, I guessed Frame Grabber would stop being free and switch to a subscription-model to recover the acquisition investment and increase profits. Second, I knew there is a good chance that the app and its features would significantly change.

The first point is fine I figured: Users constantly urge me to charge for the app outside of donations. Going subscription would not be a problem.

I was ambivalent about the second point: As I said, users depend on the app. For their hobbies and even professionally. The app is so well-received because I’ve spent countless hours iterating on the main use case. I had taken great care to design the UX. Going in a completely new direction here could mean disappointing users.

I did sit down with the future owner to discuss the future of the app. I had a great feeling this was the right direction. But in the end it didn’t matter. It simply clicked for me: I did not want and could not make any restrictions in any way. Why should I? The app is now theirs to do as they please. I mean, that’s the point of buying something, right?

I had to let go. And I did.

The End

As soon as the process was done, everything felt right. I felt relief. And excitement. And pride. I made a product out of nothing. And I sold it!

So long, Frame Grabber. A wild ride from start to finish.

Along the way, I discovered my dream career: I want to create products for people.