Participate in the Context.IO App Challenge

Dealing with email is something I have become an expert in out of necessity. While it’s out of control, it’s a chore that is wired into my work in a deep way that, regardless of the explosion of real time communication channels, will likely continue to be the least common denominator for communication for the next 100 years.

That is one of the reasons why I’m interested in seeing the projects that come out of the Context.IO App Challenge, a long-format online hackathon that I’ll be judging in a few weeks along with David Cohen, Fred Wilson, Matt Blumberg and Josh Baer.

Context.IO is a product of Return Path, where I’ve been on the board since 2000. It’s an API that developers can use to build applications that integrate their users’ email data (contacts, files, messages, threads, receipts, and rule-based notifications). We’re expecting to see a healthy mix of inbox management tools along with apps that deliver value in other ways outside the inbox. A few of my favorites that have been built in the past using Context.IO are Mailtime, Paribus or Airhelp.

A common question is if projects from a hackathon can become a successful business. Not all ideas will be winners and it depends on the goals of the event and participants. There is certainly a higher chance with an online hackathon like this one where you have months to build something amazing instead of 24-48 hours. One of our portfolio companies, WootMath,  won a similar App Challenge back in 2013.

In some ways, the judging criteria we’ll all be working from are basic questions any founder should ask themselves:

  • Quality of Idea: Is the idea creative and original?
  • Implementation of Idea: Was the idea well executed by the developer?
  • Potential Impact: Does the application solve a specific problem or paint point for its users?
  • Market Readiness: Is the application market ready?

I’m looking forward to seeing what gets built.

  • Rick

    Some more great marketing Brad. Awesome!
    What can someone win?

  • Well I wouldn’t call this a hackathon as the continuous time frame is what the “athon” part is all about. If you run one mile a day for a month, that’s not a marathon. Lets call it what it is, a contest. Nothing wrong with that.

  • Annelise Pitt

    “Pain point”, not “paint point” – right? This typo took me on a frustrating tangent looking for business jargon explained. Do you recommend any business jargon dictionary sites or books? Also, I would like to hear your thoughts on the value of jargon in precisely describing an idea/object – vs – the impediment to communication of newly adopted jargon.

    • The best business jargon dictionary out there.

      • Annelise Pitt

        Thank you – this site is funny on so many levels. The jokes that I get are hilarious. If you already speak ‘tech-business’ it must be a romp. I do like irreverence – especially when directed at ourselves.
        Funnily – at a gut-busting level – it is the antithesis of what I was asking for.

  • Sorry for the unrelated comment, but I’ve been trying to subscribe to this blog. Each time I get an error message saying “We are sorry, but you do not have access to this service. Please contact your domain administrator for access.” It directs me to sign in via one of my Google accounts, but when I select one and supply my password, I remain on the same page:

    Any help will be appreciated.