Swedish Startup Space

Flightradar24 had an exclusive invitation from Apple – but they were stood up

Written by on August 10, 2016
Editors Note: This post is part of a series called Featured posts, presented by .

The Swedish flight tracking company was selected for a super-secret Apple date – which fizzled out.

“We sacrificed five weeks of development,” said Flightradar24’s co-founder Michael Robertson.

When Apple introduced the new iOS operating system June 10th, Swedish flight tracking company Flightradar24 was set to be one of the apps highlighted at the well-guarded presentation. Earlier this year, the Flightradar24 team spent five weeks at Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, as one of ten selected apps.

“After they contacted us in April, we went over and sat in a super-secret room with them. The initial idea was that we would stay for four weeks, but it became five weeks, because they thought we were so interesting,” said Flightradar24’s co-founder Michael Robertson, with whom Breakit recently had a long talk.

The Flightradar24 app lets users see where their flight is located in the international web of air traffic. Downloaded over 30 million times, the app has been an economic success. Currently, there are both free and paid versions, but this autumn, the app will gradually move to a subscription-based solution.

At Apple, everything is top secret. The ten firms that were selected were not allowed to talk to each other, nor could they wear any logo that might reveal who they worked for.

“We kept quiet, but the presentation is over, so now we can talk about it.”

“Apple could not promise that we would be involved in the presentation. But, they ask us to extend our stay. Their PR department contacted us the day before and sounded positive, so we had high hopes,” says Mikael Robertsson.

But when it was time for the presentation, Flightradar24 were not to be found.

“We were quite disappointed, it was not what we had expected. It was five weeks of development that disappeared.”

“Instead, they highlighted Uber,” said Robertson.

Subscribe to our mailing list