HackMtl project: Merging email and CRM

About 2 weeks ago, our co-working space was invaded by dozens of coders from Montréal and Toronto for HackMTL. Short summary of the event: Creative devs + diverse APIs + distraction-free coding time = 14 great apps.

Our own Email API was part of the event and we were pretty amazed by the Inbox Social Network Visualization that Nicolas Kruchten built on top of it. You can read more about it on his blog.

We decided to build something as well and ended up doing a Chrome extension that displays attachments and emails within Highrise, a CRM webapp from 37signals. The concept is pretty simple:

  • Daily communication with clients happens mainly by email;
  • Email clients don’t do a good job at displaying a summary of information about contacts, CRM apps are much better at it;
  • Getting emails into a CRM means adding an obscure address as BCC for every email address you send and forwarding incoming emails to that same address. That’s just bad.
  • What if emails and attachments magically appeared within the CRM?

Four hours later, we had a Chrome extension that adds shared attachments and recent emails when you view a contact. No more BCC, no more file uploads. As long as it’s somewhere in your email, it will be visible when you login Highrise. 

Learn more about connecting your email and Highrise through our Chrome extension

We had to do this through a browser extension and for now, it only works if you have a Gmail or Google Apps account. Developers can use our Email API to easily do a similar integration natively in their own app.

Big thanks to Leila Boujnane from Idee Inc and Corey Reid from Freshbooks for organizing HackMtl, we had an amazing time.

Read more about HackMtl on NextMontreal: http://nextmontreal.com/hackmtl-a-huge-success