Evernote Spins Up an In-House Accelerator for App Builders

9/26/13Follow @wroush

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register for Postach.io and tag a note as “published.” It’s almost as if somebody had turned Evernote into an authoring system, similar to (but a lot less complicated than) Tumblr or WordPress. “We tell people that we built a CMS, and it’s Evernote,” jokes Shawn Adrian, co-founder of Input Logic.

Input Logic introduced Postach.io this spring and Adrian says it’s already being adopted by thousands of Evernote users, including a large contingent of teachers, who are using it to share lesson plans with colleagues and students. “People use Evernote as the place where they store their thoughts and naturally many of those thoughts are originally intended to be shared,” Adrian says. “But until now they haven’t had an easy way to share those in a way that’s presentational. Now you can literally scribble some thought, tag it ‘published,’ and it’s on your blog.”

(As a personal aside: for as long as I’ve known Evernote CEO Phil Libin, I’ve been bugging him to add a feature exactly like this. He always demurred, saying that Evernote’s focus is on helping people store information, and that building a presentation layer to share notes publicly was the sort of thing the company would probably always opt to leave to its developer community. So when I heard about Postach.io, my reaction was: finally, someone took up the challenge.)

How would participating in the Evernote Accelerator help Input Logic, if the team is lucky enough to get in? Adrian says it actually wasn’t easy making Postach.io work. Using the Evernote application programming interface, outside developers can write software that grabs content from users’ notebooks, with authorization. But that content comes in many formats, depending on how it was originally saved to Evernote (i.e., via the Evernote client for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, or some other platform).

“There is some crazy parsing that goes on the background to create nice clean HTML” for Postach.io posts, Adrian says. The opportunity to work closely with Evernote engineers could help the company figure out how to smooth the transition from note to post, and how to help Evernote users do more elaborate formatting of blog posts from within Evernote.

Needleman says he already knows all of the teams being considered for inclusion in the accelerator, “and they’re all awesome…I can’t wait to work with these guys. I imagine we’ll all be learning a lot.” Depending on what Evernote itself learns from the first run-through of the accelerator, the company could scale up the program in future years, Needleman says. “The constant for us will be identifying teams that have incredible potential to help Evernote users.”

Update, 10/1/13: At the close of the Evernote Conference, six teams were named to join the inaugural accelerator class: Postach.io (which also won the Gold Award in the Devcup), Context Booster, Biscuit, Lightly, Agent Panda, and Xing. See this Evernote blog post for more details on the companies.

 

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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