Joe Tordella: Engineer & App Store Entrepreneur



Austin Neri

Joe Tordella defines himself in myriad  ways. He’s an entrepreneur, a pilot, a business man, a website ( and an engineer, he is a living Renaissance man that hails from Ocean City, N.J. and calls the halls of Villanova University his temporary home. 

A Saint Augustine Preparatory alumnus, Tordella’s transition to Villanova was as smooth as Arcidiacono’s three point stroke. A web design class he took in high school inspired him to go beyond the mundane coursework to fulfill a dream: develop an app. Joe wasted no time in his pursuit. Second semester of his freshman year, 2013, the developing commenced. Basic coding knowledge and a working efficiency in Adobe Photoshop were the armor Tordella carried into battle. Sleepless nights, often complimentary of genius, were the byproduct of Tordella’s now four apps available on the App Store. 

The process is far from simple, or easy for that matter. First off, you have to be a part of the Apple Developer Program ($99/year membership). Then, after submitting your app to the App Store, Apple reviews it and runs it through several tests. The overall process generally takes about a week, after which the verdict is delivered: approved or not approved. With his initial projects being gaming apps, Tordella has now transitioned into more substantial projects. However, that is not to say that roadblocks have not developed. The App Store is often not a welcoming recipient of ideas; discipline and determination are major keys to success. Most of Tordella’s apps follow the “freemium” model. As implied, they are free and the user pays for features within the app such as removing advertising or purchasing a photo filter.  

Tordella’s first blockbuster app was Zippy Mouse. Tap to jump. Don’t hit the cheese. Considered “the perfect rendition of flappy bird” by Anthonysftw, this app was developed in about a week. It was thus reviewed by Apple and released on the App Store a week later. Following suit, Avoid the Spiders was developed and released in the same amount of time as its predecessor. 

Segueing from the gaming sector, Tordella developed a photo editing app called Premiere Photo Editor by Pictate. The Asian market has become quite fond of this app that allows easy application of “novel filters and photo effects.” The app took about three weeks to develop in consideration of the graphics involved.

Two weeks ago, Tordella continued his trailblazing by returning to the gaming sector and releasing Dog Hop. After running into some minor issues, the app was finally released four weeks later. This may be Tordella’s best app yet. It is simple yet addictive.

Tordella remarked about his success in the App Store, “having four apps has not only given me a sense of accomplishment, but has also given me the incentive and confidence to work harder and build better products for people.” His branding iron is just heating up. Tordella’s mark has yet to be made. “Villanova has allowed me to build great connections with others and see both sides of the religious and academic aspects of arguments.”

In addition to his already impressive repertoire, Tordella is currently developing a new company to expedite the process of students looking for off campus housing.  A common problem that plagues juniors at Villanova, Tordella sought to bridge the gap and provide a simple App solution, “Off Campus.” 

Engineering has rewired the perspective with which Tordella looks at the world. After completing the Summer Business Institute in the summer of 2015, he obtained not only a business minor but also a stage on which to display his apps. Networking further promoted his initiative. This internal drive began early on in life. In August 2013, Tordella obtained his private pilot’s license before attending Villanova his freshman year. Looking at the world from 1,000 feet up has changed his life both literally and figuratively. Breaking the boundaries of complacency, Tordella is now working to obtain his Instrument Rating, which essentially certifies that he is able to rely solely on the instruments of the aircraft for flying at night and in bad weather. Pioneering the App Store, flying planes, starting companies, Joe Tordella is a name synonymous with triumph.