Designer at heart and a passionate DJ, Vitaliy has launched five companies so far—from parental assistant to an AI psychotherapist. He loves spirituality when it’s balanced with materiality. He currently resides in Lisbon.

In your own words, what’s your role in the app business right now?

I’m in charge of processes, financials, monetization, and product design.

How did you end up working in apps? / get started?

After years in design and art direction, in 2014, when it became mainstream, I co-founded Hello Baby, an ecosystem of parental and pregnancy apps. It was named the App of the Year by Apple, but wasn’t successful as we began monetizing too late and didn’t fully understand users’ needs (we didn’t have babies).

What are you most excited about in apps right now?

I’m thrilled about AI possibilities, and even launched another project, called Soul (AI therapist). At Moonly, we’re about to upgrade the whole app experience with a conversational-first approach allowing people to solve their issues and ask questions seamlessly, talk with anthropomorphic characters, and access all our top-tier content in the context of conversation.

The trick here is to implement LLMs natively, rather than add a ChatGPT window inside the app, and empower the conversation with all user data and insights: Birth Chart calculations, Tarot spreads, Moon phases, meditations, dreams, cycles data (coming soon).

Is there anyone you’d like to shout out to who has influenced your journey in the app industry?

We were inspired not by the existing apps and services, but by the lack of good products in the category. Four years ago, when we launched, the landscape was very poor.

Today, we look at spiritual marketplaces that connect people with astrologers, tarot readers, etc.—they show incredibly high user stickiness and profitability. But we’ll surpass this with AI, as it may be much better, cheaper, and faster for simple daily tasks. We’re training our models on top-tier content to achieve master-grade, human-like results.

What’s in your app tech stack?

It’s a classic native approach (Swift/Kotlin), Adapty for subscription analysis, and Rive for animations. We also use Figma and FigJam for design and collaboration, and PostHog for analytics. We never use Zoom, as we’re a small agile team and don’t need a heavy corporate flavor in our routine—we prefer Around. Also, I’m in love with Notion Calendar and Arc browser. Superhuman was great when it first launched, but it feels like its UI/UX has been stuck somewhere in 2020.

What do you like most about working in apps?

I like the level of control over experience we have in mobile, especially on iOS. You can control every pixel and deliver a top-tier experience.

Unfortunately, with Apple’s recent privacy updates over the past years, monetization for many apps has become very difficult, and the whole industry is moving towards the web, and we experiment with web a lot as well.

What one thing would you change about the app industry / market? Where do you think there’s an opportunity for apps / or unmet needs?

When we released the first version of Moonly after 6 months of development, we were rejected for the following reason: “The category is too saturated.” Just like that, Apple can simply reject an app, with excellent content, without a hint of scam, even though, at the same time, the App Store was filled with hundreds of blatantly scammy apps, including palm reading by photos and app subscriptions for $999 with the mechanic of “place your finger on the Touch ID to find out your destiny”. Such bias and selective oversight are demotivating sometimes.

If you weren’t working in apps what would you be doing?

DJing, music production.

What app(s) have been most useful to you over the last year?

Around (calls), Things (to-do), Arc (browser), Notion Calendar, Telegram (the one true messenger app), ChatGPT, Blinkist (book summaries), Superhuman (email), 1Password.

What’s on your Spotify / Music party playlist?

Just listen to my latest set 😊.

Any Netflix/ TV show recommendations?

The Sopranos is always a classic. Love, Death & Robots is just a stylish thing.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I don’t know why someone would need to know this, but I can read words and sentences backwards at an incredibly high speed.

Do you know someone driving change and growth in the app industry? Nominate an app leader here.

Connect with Vitaliy