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Mayor Bloomberg Launches Fourth Annual Nyc Bigapps Competition

March 19, 2013

More Than 350 New Datasets Available, Integration with Other Government and Private Sector Datasets Now Possible

Developers Are Challenged to Address Specific Problems Facing New Yorkers, Compete for $150,000 in Prize Money

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the launch of NYC BigApps 2013, the fourth annual contest for software developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using official City data. This year's NYC BigApps competition will build on the tremendous success of the previous three competitions by once again expanding the datasets available and issuing a challenge to create apps that will address major issues facing New York City residents in specific categories. More than 60 City agencies, commissions and Business Improvement Districts have made more than 350 new data sets available for NYC BigApps 2013, bringing the total number of raw data sets that will be available to developers to more than 1,000. For the first time, participants will be able to incorporate approved Federal, State and private sector datasets and APIs, as well as create their own data sets for the City through the use of their apps. Winning applications for NYC BigApps 2013 will receive cash prizes totaling $150,000, in addition to several non-monetary prizes and in some cases, the opportunity to earn follow-on funding for future app improvements. Winners also will be eligible to join the Founders' Network, which provides networking and startup business support for winners wishing to launch companies around their apps. Over the course of the previous three competitions, NYC BigApps has helped create nearly 240 new and innovative applications. The official launch of NYC BigApps 2013 will take place at this evening's New York Tech Meetup, a monthly meeting of New York City's tech community featuring live demonstrations of new technologies from emerging companies and developers. Entries are due by 5 PM on Friday, June 7. Official competition rules, as well as additional information and updates can be found on the competition website:

"New York City has become a global hub for the tech industry, and the Big Apps competition is another way for our Administration to support its growth," said Mayor Bloomberg. "We already know the city is home to the most creative and talented people, and programs like BigApps allow us to further cultivate that talent and creative energy, which will help further grow our thriving innovation economy."

"Each year, the BigApps competition demonstrates the vibrancy and creativity of New York City's technology industry," said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. "Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to foster a thriving technology community here are clearly paying off, as the city's economy is growing to include more and more technology companies."

"Now in its fourth year, the BigApps competition has proven itself a success in both growing New York City's technology sector as well as providing entrepreneurs with the opportunity to create new, innovative products that will address challenges and positively impact our City," said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky.  "With increased accessibility to City data - as well as the addition of new private data - this year we anticipate even more creative ideas that will help strengthen New York City's standing as the global capital of innovation and technology, both now and in the future."

"For more than four years now, NYC BigApps has engaged some of the best minds and talent from the city's entrepreneurial and tech space," said New York City Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul N. Merchant. "Every day we build on the data available through NYC OpenData, and inspiring data-driven innovation is vital as we continue to implement the City's landmark open data law. NYC BigApps helps to ensure this data impacts communities across New York City."

"As New York City's technology community grows, it continues to improve our city in powerful ways. The fourth annual NYC BigApps competition is an important step forward in Mayor Bloomberg's digital roadmap for New York City, underscoring the Mayor's commitment to innovation, transparency and the vibrant technology industry," said Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot. "With the powerful building blocks of over 1,000 open data sets, the NYC BigApps competition provides an effective framework to collaboratively create tools that make NYC greener and serve the work, health, and educational needs of New Yorkers."

NYC BigApps 2013 is open to individual developers, as well companies and non-profits with fewer than 25 employees. The New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication have worked with more than 60 City agencies, Commissions, and Business Improvement Districts across the City to provide approximately 350 new data sets available on the NYC OpenData site. This is in addition to the data sets that have previously been available, bringing the total to more than 1,000. This information is currently available for download via the NYC Open Data at Last year's NYC BigApps 3.0 Grand Prize winner, Ontodia/ NYC Facets, has also partnered with NYC BigApps to allow participants to use their database and API tools which make it easier for developers to find, combine, and pull data for use in their apps. In addition, NYC has partnered with diverse private sector companies and organizations to allow for the use of approved private sector datasets and APIs. Private sector data providers include, Carbon Calculated, CareerBuilder, CartoDB, CEO Works,, eBay, Etsy, Foursquare, Indeed, LinkUp, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, PVWatts, SimplyHired, Workforce Opportunity Services, and Yelp, among others. For the first time, apps that generate new datasets relevant to New York City through user input will also be considered for this year's competition, allowing the City to benefit from technology's crowdsourcing abilities.

This year's NYC BigApps competition is being powered by, an online platform that allows users to post project ideas and team up to build new apps, creative projects, startups, and more. NYC BigApps 2013 also features a new brand identity, created by strategic design partner and leading design consultancy, Pentagram. The competition is also supported by overall strategic partners BMW iVentures and eBay, Inc., whose support have made it possible to greatly increase the amount of prizes and innovative events throughout the competition.  

NYC BigApps 2013 is engaging technologists, City government, private sector and nonprofit organizations, and the public to work together to solve specific New York City challenges, known as BigIssues. Four BigIssues focus areas have been selected for the 2013 competition: Jobs and Workforce Mobility, Healthy Living, Lifelong Learning, and Cleanweb: Energy, Environment, and Resilience. The best app in each of the four focus areas will win a substantial prize, and additionally be eligible for the NYC BigApps 2013 Grand Prize.

NYC BigApps' strategic BigIssue partners will ensure participants receive a wealth of supportive resources throughout the competition, including access to detailed problem briefs that describe NYC challenges, expert advisors that advise and give app feedback, and dedicated in-person events where participants can engage with the community and work on their apps. The Blue Ridge Foundation, Robin Hood Foundation, and Coatue Foundation are serving as strategic BigIssue sponsors for the Jobs and Workforce Mobility, Healthy Living, and Lifelong Learning categories. The Cleanweb Initiative - NYC, a consortium consisting of Cleanweb Initiative, Inc., NYC Acre, Pure Energy Partners, and Solar One, is serving as the strategic BigIssue sponsor for the CleanWeb: Environment, Energy and Resilience category.

This year's competition will also place an emphasis on collaboration and feedback, allowing experts and the public to comment on apps in development, and featuring approximately a dozen events over the 12-week competition period in order to provide continuous community engagement. The first event will be the BigApps 2013 Expo, sponsored by eBay, Inc., on April 6th through 7th. The two-day BigApps 2013 Expo will feature participants and experts from a variety of civic and technology communities. Day one will consist of speakers, panels, and breakout discussions to educate participants about BigIssues, inform participants about new competition features and resources, and help participants find teammates. Day two will be a developer day where teams work on app prototypes and get feedback from expert advisors.

A total of eight cash prizes totaling $150,000 will be awarded this year and seven winners will be announced at an awards ceremony held in June 2013. The top winner in each of the four BigIssue categories will be eligible to win a $35,000 grand prize in addition to their BigIssue category prize. Additional non-monetary prizes include two demo slots to present at the NY Tech Meetup; final interview pitch round to receive free Friends of eBay office space, executive coaching, and mentorship; and for Jobs and Economic Mobility winners, the  chance to pitch BlueRidge Foundation investors and receive free office space in the Blue Ridge Foundation headquarters.

This year's NYC BigApps judging panel will be comprised of: Dawn Barber Co-founder, New York Tech Meetup; John Borthwick CEO, Betaworks; Arianna Huffington, Chair, President, and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group; Lawrence Lenihan Founder, CEO and Managing Director, FirstMark Capital; Ann Li, Managing Director, Center for Economic Transformation, New York City Economic Development Corporation; Rahul Merchant, New York City Chief Information & Innovation Officer and Commissioner, NYC DoITT; Ulrich Quay, Managing Director of BMW iVentures; Danny Schultz Co-founder & Managing Director, DFJ Gotham Ventures; David Tisch Managing Partner, BoxGroup; and Fred Wilson, Managing Director, Union Square Ventures.

"We are excited to once again support the NYC BigApps program," said Ulrich Quay, Managing Director of BMW iVentures. "BMW iVentures is determined to support the technology entrepreneur community in New York City. Sponsoring the NYC BigApps program is one great example of BMW's cooperation with the City."

"CollabFinder is more than thrilled to be powering NYC BigApps 2013," said Sahadeva Hammari, CEO of CollabFinder. "Collaboration is at the heart of every successful app and we are excited to help developers, designers, scientists and more team up, start companies, and solve the City's most pressing problems. Start a project page on the NYC BigApps + CollabFinder platform today and watch a team build around your idea."

Originally launched in 2009 by Mayor Bloomberg, NYC Big Apps has helped create nearly 240 applications, and has engaged more than 275,000 unique visitors to the website leading to more than 83,000 people voting on specific apps. The first NYC BigApps competition in 2009 made more than 170 official City data sets available and received 85 eligible submissions. The Grand Prize for Best Overall Application was awarded to WayFinder NYC, an application designed to help locate the nearest subway, bus or New Jersey PATH station. Other winners included Taxihack (an application that allows users to post live comments on New York City taxis and their drivers via email), Big Apple Ed (an education application that provides residents with a user-friendly guide to schools in the City, including school searches, top ten lists, analyses, comparison charts, and detailed school profiles), Bookzee (a library book search application that allows users to enter a book title or author to find the nearest library currently holding it), and NYC Way (an iPhone application that bundles more than 30 New York City resources and provides information sorted by the user's current location). The developer of NYC Way, MyCityWay, received the first investment by the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund, a $22 million seed and early-stage investment fund established by the NYCEDC and managed by FirstMark Capital.

In 2010, NYC BigApps 2.0 was launched, making available nearly 400 data sets and leading to the selection of 14 winning applications from a pool of 58 submissions. The Grand Prize was awarded to the Roadify iPhone App, which alerts users to the latest subway, bus, or driving conditions by using official transit data and real-time updates from commuters. Other winners included Sportaneous - an application that harnesses location-based technology to organize sports games at any time, providing lists of nearby public sports facilities and ways to join games that suit the user's schedule, location, and skill level - and Parking Finder - an application designed to take the hassle out of finding parking in Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn by providing interactive maps of free, metered, and prohibited on-street parking during specified times, as well as entrance locations and calculated price of every off-street parking garage and lot, and the ability to make reservations.

NYC BigApps 3.0 was launched in the fall 2011 and featured over 750 datasets on the NYC Open Data platform. A total of 11 winning applications were selected from a record 96 eligible applications that were submitted for the contest. The Best Overall Application was awarded to NYCFacets, which streamlines and simplifies the process for accessing, understanding, and utilizing the tremendous amount of data available in the City's NYC Open Data portal. NYC Facets is now serving as a BigApps 2013 data partner, demonstrating the many benefits of mutual engagement of the City and technology community. Additional winning applications focused on helping communities connect to and better use vacant lots (596 Acres), travel efficiently on the City's subway system (Embark NYC), and find the best locations to do work around the City (Work+).

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