App Developer Competitions: Worth It?

John Moore | IBN | May 30, 2012
Mobile app makers who are eager to showcase new ideas can take advantage of an expanding outlet for their creativity: developer competitions. Competitions may take the form of online developer challenges or in-person hackathons that engage individuals or teams in 24-hour (or longer) coding sessions. Events may be sponsored by technology vendors, software companies, industry organizations or even government agencies. For the winners, a competition can offer cash and the opportunity to further refine an app. Other incentives could include free gear, a meeting with a venture capital firm, or even an opportunity to present the app at a conference.

Developers, however, point to other benefits beyond the immediate reward. Chief among those is the chance to gain visibility. Matt Mattox, vice president, products and marketing, at Axial Exchange, a Raleigh, N.C., health care software company, cites that factor as a major plus of winning the Ensuring Safe Transitions from Hospital to Home Challenge. The challenge was co-sponsored by Health 2.0 and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT).

"Market exposure and validation of our mission have both been key benefits of winning the challenge," says Mattox. "We were announced as winners at a national Medicare conference in Baltimore, where there were dozens of hospital representatives in attendance. That alone supercharged our sales pipeline."