Intuit QuickBooks Connect Hackathon Offers $100,000 in Prizes

Intuit is holding a hackathon later this month at the QuickBooks Connect 2014 conference in San Jose, Calif., at which $100,000 in prizes will be distributed to developers who create the best QuickBooks Online apps.

According to Intuit’s director of developer relations, Lori Fraleigh, the hackathon, which is scheduled to be held Oct. 20 and 21, is the largest the company has ever hosted and Builds off of its previous developer events, which have included university hackathons and App Showcases.

"The primary goal of the hackathon is to inspire developers to create value-added Web applications that build on the power of the QuickBooks Online ecosystem," said Fraleigh. "Ultimately, we are looking to get as many developers as possible onto the Platform so that it can effectively serve as many small businesses around the world as possible — regardless of size or vertical."

For developers looking for opportunity, the small-business market is a large, potentially lucrative one. As Fraleigh detailed, "There are more than 60 million global small businesses, which represents a tremendous growth opportunity for developers looking to create apps targeted at small businesses."

Helping Developers Help Small Businesses

Intuit, which is focused on providing the "operating system" that helps power those small businesses, believes it is perfectly positioned to help developers reach the market with the QuickBooks Online API.

"Via the QuickBooks Online API, developers get access to an open platform with global reach, including free access to the API and no connection fees, a powerful distribution channel through, tools like API Explorer, SDKs, Documentation and a vibrant developer community, and tools to manage and track an app’s success," Fraleigh told me.

She pointed to Intuit partnerships with third-party developers like ZenPayroll, Square and SmartVault. In the case of SmartVault, the company realized a 35% increase in trial signups after becoming a part of the QuickBooks Online ecosystem.

Fraleigh said that Intuit's relationships with third-party developers are "critical" to the company's success, and Intuit is excited to see what small-business challenges developers tackle at this month's event.

The hackathon is open to all attendees of the QuickBooks Connect 2014 conference. According to Lisa Rathjens of the Intuit Partner Platform team, the $100,000 in prize money will be distributed among four winners, with $55,000 going to the best overall app and $15,000 each going to the best new app, best use of a new QuickBooks Online API and best new feature for an existing app. Only entries consisting of "fresh code" will be eligible to win a prize, and distribution of prize money is contingent upon the winning apps being published to, Intuit's app store, within six months.

To ensure that developers have all the resources they need to create compelling apps and get them to market, Intuit staff, including members of its engineering, product management and business development teams, will be on hand to assist participants, and Intuit promises the availability of continued support after the hackathon.

Be sure to read the next Accounting article: Intuit Announces Winners of QuickBooks Connect Hackathon