Meet Prime Tracker’s founder: The story behind the viral app’s creation saved by KSI

Prime Tracker App interviewInstagram: drinkprime / Tom Bastable

PRIME Hydration is the #1 paid Shopping App in the App Store right now — but its current prosperity almost didn’t happen. We spoke with the app’s founder about the highs of achieving online success and the lows of facing deletion from one of his idols.

Last year, YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul famously ended their rivalry to create a joint project that took the internet by storm. Dubbed ‘PRIME Hydration,’ their sports beverage intended to replenish electrolytes without the need for tons of sugar or calories.

Since its launch in early 2022, PRIME Hydration has released two new flavors, a series of flavor packets, and now even boasts a line of energy drinks that have already sold out online in the United States.

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However, getting your hands on a bottle of PRIME isn’t an easy task, even a year later. Supply issues and online resellers have been making problems for fans who just want to support their favorite creators, with some stores even outright banning the sale of PRIME to certain individuals due to the drink’s viral nature.

Logan Paul KSI release prime hydration drinkInstagram: KSI, drinkprime

Luckily, someone has come along to save the day. The PRIME Tracker app helps fans in the UK find out which stores have PRIME in stock in real-time — and although it’s a godsend for PRIME fiends now, it was in danger of deletion not too long ago.

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We spoke with PRIME Tracker founder Tom Bastable about his journey in creating the viral app, being recognized by KSI, and how he recovered after receiving a deletion notice in the midst of PRIME’s heyday not even a year ago.

Why Tom Bastable created the PRIME Tracker app

Tom Bastable claims he created PRIME as a direct response to ASDA’s “embarrassingly prehistoric stock system,” hoping to help fans of Logan Paul and KSI to get their hands on the drink in an easier, more straightforward way.

“At first, ASDA were listing PRIME for sale via their online grocery system,” Bastable explained. “No one would end up getting these orders, because their stock system is too slow for PRIME’s demand, and the stock they said was in-stock wasn’t. I later found out it also relies on manual counts etc., too. It’s a joke, considering the world we live in and the incredible system Tesco have implemented.

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“ASDA then stopped the social media team from communicating delivery dates – and that was it. I had the idea for the tracker before things got to this point, I waited for a few weeks hoping someone else would make it – after no one did, I didn’t really have a choice, as the idea was one of those that kept screaming out to me.”

PRIME Tracker app screenshot copyApple / Tom Bastable

Why is PRIME Hydration never in stores?

Despite PRIME being a ‘prime’ product on the market right now, the beverage has experienced many issues with supply and demand, as many fans have complained about not being able to find it in stores or stock being sold out very quickly.

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Bastable has the inside scoop on why PRIME fans might not be able to find stock near them — and he says it’s likely due to fans buying, and then reselling the bev to turn a quick buck.

“We have a lot of data which is becoming more accurate as we grow and more insiders come forward, so we have a good idea of what’s happening,” he began.

“ASDA staff buying stock to resell is a problem. We know that a few specific stores receive good amounts of stock, but it never hits the shelves. We don’t know this because of KSI’s comment on the Fella’s podcast, we know this because of our numerous ASDA insiders that talk to us on our Discord, and the reports we see in the app. So this is a contributor, but I don’t think it’s the main reason we can’t buy it easily.

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“I believe the main reason we’re still tracking PRIME and not buying it with a meal deal every day are resellers. It’s like a new Crypto gold rush — if you spend £2, you’re almost guaranteed a 5x return. Who’s going to say no to that when the UK’s going through a cost of living crisis?”

How does the PRIME Tracker app work?

After relying on ASDA’s “inaccurate” stock app, Bastable has since turned to fans to help report when their local stores have PRIME in stock, using a system to verify their location, including photos, to get accurate info.

“We implemented a crowd-sourced system that would rely on users reporting stock as they find it. Funnily enough, this didn’t work too well as the demographic PRIME has loves a bit of pi**-taking. 80% of reports were fake, it was a total mess,” he admitted.

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“[For version 3], we paid a team of freelancers to phone around every known store that would actually receive stock to find it. This is when accuracy started to improve, but costs also increased.

“We still phone around to stores that we don’t get routine user reports for, but we’ve also updated the app to GPS-verify each user report and make submitting a photo of stock mandatory. This has made user reports a credible asset again and surprisingly accurate.”

PRIME Tracker creator describes “emotional” app takedown notice

While the app is a great success right now — with Bastable claiming it’s been in the Top 3 downloaded apps on the App Store since November — this wasn’t always the case. In fact, PRIME Tracker faced deletion in 2022, prompting him to put a hold on the app for some time.

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Bastable says he got a takedown notice back in August 2022, calling the whole ordeal “emotional.”

“It was a single line, cold email that I received via LinkedIn after some hard months of working on the app and honing the verification processes,” he explained. “There was also a phone call that followed from another person. This now obviously wasn’t the case, considering he’s just featured the app in a video, but at the time that feeling of thinking that someone I’ve idolized for a decade wanted something I’d made taken down, or even that they were annoyed by it, really sucked – and is the reason I complied and temporarily stopped tracking PRIME.”

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That being said, after “several weeks of self-loathing,” Bastable started up a Discord channel and got back to it. He says that fans of the PRIME Tracker gave him the confidence to start again.

“That was the first real interaction I had with the app users outside of occasional Twitter messages, and it made me realize how much these guys liked the app. After a month or two of 10k+ Discord users asking for the app to come back (big shoutout to our amazing Discord staff), we re-designed it slightly and re-released it. I was a little bit worried at first, as I was still convinced JJ hated what I’d made – but as soon as more and more users sent us their success photos on Twitter it made it all worth it.”

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KSI supports the PRIME Tracker app

Luckily, Bastable didn’t have to worry about any negative feedback from KSI for long. Come 2023, Bastable’s app was praised by the YouTuber in a video, where he described it as a “good app to try and find some PRIME” amid the ongoing shortage.

“Never did I expect JJ to pull out his phone and start using [the app]!” Bastable exclaimed. “And recommending it? And showing a demo of it? Just typing this out I’m getting hyped about it – it’s just the best feeling.”

“I just can’t thank him enough. Seeing someone you’ve idolized for a decade show appreciation for something you’ve poured everything into is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

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What’s next for PRIME Tracker

Right now, Bastable says that an Android version of the PRIME Tracker app is coming at the end of the week — so by January 16, Android users should be able to track PRIME near them.

There’s also a V5 update to the app on the way, which will “improve accuracy and should hopefully include upcoming delivery dates so that users are informed of a store’s next delivery date.” According to Bastable, “They’ll even be able to sync it with their calendar.”

That’s not all; the Tracker will also include the available stock for PRIME Energy as it releases in the coming months. But despite all these forthcoming changes, he’s still remaining “realistic” about the app’s future.

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“We’re not planning too much further ahead PRIME-wise as it stands, as we’re being fairly realistic in that we know we won’t be required once stock/demand stabilizes. I do think though that there’s the potential to build a platform from what we’ve made here, and it’s something we’re considering. Since JJ included us in his video, the platform’s exploded – so there’s definitely a lot of thought to be done with regards to my career and future potential as a tracking platform.”