ChallengePost: A Marketplace for Challenges

March 8, 2010

1:51 pm

ChallengePost is very clear about what it is – a marketplace for challenges. It’s all about crowdsourcing at its simplest. Individuals and organizations post challenges and offer cash awards for the best solution. Here’s how the founders of ChallengePost explain the concept:

“Challenges are a successful vehicle for innovation, because they are capital efficient and they capture the public’s imagination.”

In addition to a monetary award, those who solve a challenge receive public “thank you notes” that appear on their profile pages with the names of those they’ve helped – so the cold cash is accompanied by warm fuzzies.

Challenges can be open – allowing anyone to contribute additional prize money and declarations of why a solution would be meaningful to them – or they can be closed. Potential challenge solvers who might be concerned about intellectual property rights needn’t worry; those who solve open challenges retain intellectual property ownership. In certain cases, when approved in advanced by ChallengePost, the intellectual property rights are transferred to the initiator of the challenge.  ChallengePost makes money by taking an 8 percent cut of the prize money for challenges that are solved.

A quick scan of the site shows this is a perfect marketplace for developer challenges, such as the NYC BigApps Competition, which leads the pack in terms of award money pledged ($20K), and the ChaCha Dev Challenge, which has various prizes between $2K and $10K. There are a number of non-developer challenges, too, such as the challenge to come up with a better word for “lifestyle business” and the request for an “ultimate bread-baking mistakes guide.”

People can also post “wishes” for free to provide inspiration for others, such as “I wish someone would invent an organic coffee stir stick that isn’t made out of trees” (posted by John H from Los Angeles). Others can vote these ideas up the chain with a “me too!” button.

The site is currently in a preview phase and will be one of the many start-ups showcased at the TECH cocktail SXSW: Johnny Cash Blackout Sunday presented by Microsoft BizSpark and Volusion. ChallengePost is a finalist in the 2010 SXSW Accelerator program.

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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.

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