Startup Story: ColourColor Me #FF00FF

Simon Burbidge maker of ColourColor
Simon Burbidge maker of ColourColor

Well colour me pink(#FF00FF)! This is hot of the press, if you like a good game with friends, and like to challenge them to something new, give this a shot.  

Your Full Name: Simon Burbidge
Startup Name: ColourColor
Website Address:
Approx Launch Date: 29th May 2014

In 100 words or less, explain your startups purpose.

I’m one of the many indie developers who’ve been enabled by Apple’s App Store. I pre-ordered the original iPod Touch, and loved it as a device, but when Apple opened the platform for developers it quickly became obvious that it was the platform for me. I write apps in my day job, and love it so much that my “startup” is me writing apps that I find interesting – the four apps that I have on the App Store are all very different. Two of them were long projects, but I’m hoping that if I find them interesting then other people will too!

How will you fund and grow your startup?

Everything has been self-funded so far, but I’d love it to support itself – there are however a growing number of stories of indie devs who’ve tried to go full-time and have had to go back to work. There are a million other apps on the App Store, and it is getting increasingly difficult to get noticed. Whilst the huge choice is good for users, it is a double edged sword because it becomes harder and harder to discover the good apps, and more likely that good apps will go unnoticed.

Whats so hard about your startup idea anyway?

Apart from getting noticed, the hardest thing about this app’s development was actually something that I thought would be quite easy. Calculating the difference between two colours in a way that agrees with how the human eye perceives that colour difference, is a massively complex thing. Everyone knows that colours are represented in computers as RGB values. If you know a little maths, then you’d think (as I did) that the vector (Euclidean) distance between two RGB values would give you a reasonable score – we tried this, and it led to a game that felt unfair and scores that didn’t seem right.

Without getting into too much detail, there’s a beast of an equation called the CIE DE2000. It was created in 2000 by the CIE (International Commission on Illumination). Just getting this formula to work in iOS (writing it in Objective-C) was a challenging process, but the results were absolutely worthwhile.

Why would I choose you and not your competitor(c’mon, everyone has one)?

There’s nothing out there like ColourColor – it is completely unique – however the App Store is awash with games from indie devs like me, and from the big boys. Getting noticed is increasingly difficult, and if you don’t get noticed then you don’t get downloads. We therefore have many thousands of direct competitors in our challenge of getting our intriguing and unique app in front of people.

What’s the most important tool, resource, person or anything that enabled you to launch your startup?

You don’t need much in the way of hardware or software to write an iPhone app – anyone with a Mac (or sometimes not even that!) can do it. However, writing a game is not a quick process, so as a father of two girls with a full-time job, my patient and forgiving wife Hanna is the number one reason this app has been possible.

What was the best advice you ever got about your startup, and who from?

“Don’t rush it to launch, wait until it is ready” is something that you here a lot of experienced indie devs say. They know the eagerness to just get it out there, and whilst you can’t keep polishing it forever, if you do need to push release for a few weeks to fix bugs or improve your marketing plan then the world will wait for your product.

Who are the founders in your team, what’s their story, and what do they do?

I’m a full-time iOS developer, and I’ve taken the project through idea, feasibility, development to completion (as much as these things are ever “completed”). I commissioned a very talented designer in Italy to do the design work – Francesco Bonomi. Not only did he produce some great designs, but he really went the extra mile in picking me up on it when I hadn’t implemented them to the pixel!

Check out ColourColor today!



  1. Loving the game. My co-workers think I’m mad charging around the office try to match colours…

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