Hackathons sometimes have a reputation of having short-lived rewards: all the caffeine you can drink, elimination of the need to sleep, camaraderie with fellow insomniacs, networking opportunities, and, on occasion, there’s even beer!
This may be due to the fact that not many hackers get to see their time, effort, and hard work blossom into something more–something long-standing, publicly available, and most of all, profitable.
Enter Jobber, a QuickBooks Connect Hackathon team who hacked their way into winning the $15k prize for Best New App at last year’s QuickBooks Connect conference in San Jose, CA.
It was a great idea and use case from the start, receiving a standing ovation from the hackathon accountant judge during the initial idea pitch session. The app is a backup tool for QuickBooks Online, providing business owners and accountants with a secure backup and restore functionality to aid in cases where their data becomes corrupt. SafetyNet went live on Apps.com this week.
So how does one decide on an app idea that will go the distance? Ben Zittlau, Jobber’s Director of Engineering, explains how they came up with SafetyNet:
“At Jobber we provide online software for field services business that integrates with both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online. We’re always trying to nudge our QuickBooks Desktop users to move to QuickBooks Online, but the lack of an easy way to backup their companies with a company file was a serious point of friction for many of them. I happened to attend the QuickBooks Connect hackathon in October 2014, and it seemed like a great opportunity to see how hard it would be to address that problem. We never expected the response we’re seeing from accountants!”
Want to know more about SafetyNet? Check out the video overview here.
So what’s next for these entrepreneurs?
“The world! We’re eagerly looking forward to getting more users onto SafetyNet while we’re in Beta so we can make sure it’s working flawlessly. While we have very high confidence in the archives we create when we snapshot a company, there are some challenges to restoring that data back into QuickBooks Online in the right way so that it is an exact match to its earlier state,” Ben said. “For example, you can’t apply a payment to an invoice unless that invoice is there! We’ve addressed many of those corner cases and are getting close to the point where we feel confident enough in the product to begin charging for it. We’ve seen a huge response from the accountant community, and are gathering feedback on how we can make the product more useful for them and their customers going forward.”
Want your chance to attend QuickBooks Connect and hack at the hackathon? Sign up for more info here. This year’s conference will be in San Jose, CA, November 2-4. Stay tuned!
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