PizzaGPT: a ChatGPT alternative for Italian users

I've made a website for italians to access ChatGPT AI, with some additional cheese and tomato 🍕 It went viral.

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The idea

On Saturday (April 1st), I heard about ChatGPT being blocked in Italy. I’m an Italian living abroad so I still have access to it, but my parents and friends living there don’t. I believe AI is a revolutionary tool that should be available to anyone, the same way internet has been.

So I created PizzaGPT, a ChatGPT alternative for Italian users. It’s a website that uses the same AI as ChatGPT, but it’s not blocked in Italy. I called it 🍕PizzaGPT 🇮🇹

The website was coded in a couple of hours, taking most of it from another project I was working on. It was full of imperfections but I just wanted to ship something quickly. For the stack I used Nuxt 3, Tailwind and DaisyUI.

Regarding the AI, it’s literally just a wrapper of OpenAI completions API (turbo-3.5 model) and a chat interface, so it should give the same answers as the free version of ChatGPT.

Being a bit afraid of the costs of the API I’ve added a donate button. You can donate the equivalent of a pizza or 9 euro (pizzaware model?) to help keep it running.

The launch

I finished the coding and deployment quickly, as I was in a hurry to go to dinner with friends. We had a delicious pizza, of course.

Before going to be bed, I made a post on Hacker News, and I went to sleep.

I woke up the next morning seeing 200 users on my website. And then I checked the Hacker News front page, and I saw my post in 25th place. I answered some comments and write my motivation behind the project. Luckly, comments were mostly positive.

PizzaGPT had 10k+ users in the first 24 hours.

On Monday morning a friend of mine saw someone talking about PizzaGPT on LinkedIn, it was viral there as well. Just this post got more than 500k views.

I was receiving 4x times the amount of traffic from the previous day. Articles, posts, tweets, and even TikToks started popping up.

Newspaper started publishing articles about PizzaGPT. I did an interview at Radio Capital, Wired and a couple of podcasts.

I got invited to speak at Wired Next Fest in Rovereto. Funnily enough, I was covered by Wired, 8 years ago with my previous startup, Bolt Motion.

The aftermath

In the month of April alone, PizzaGPT received more than 1 million users.

In the next weeks I developed a premium version of PizzaGPT called Plus. It’s a subscription that gives you access to more features, like the ability to save conversations, and to receive answers based on your previous conversations.