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Mayor Bloomberg And Deputy Mayor Lieber Launch Nyc Bigapps Competition

October 6, 2009

Software Developers to Begin Developing Mobile Applications Using More than 170 City Datasets

New Yorkers Will Vote on their Favorite Apps and Panel of Experts Will Judge Submissions

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched the inaugural NYC BigApps Competition, a contest for software developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using City data. For the first time, the City is making available more than 170 datasets to allow developers to build applications that will serve residents, visitors, businesses and the public sector. The City has selected ChallengePost, an online network for organizations and individuals to create and offer competitions, to administer the contest. The developer of the winning applications will receive cash prizes, and Mayor Bloomberg plans to congratulate the winners in person at a dinner. Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber will detail the program this evening at NY Tech Meetup, a monthly meeting of tech entrepreneurs where companies and developers demo technology they’ve been working on in front of an audience of their peers.

“Last week, we launched the Connected City Initiative to put technology to use improving services and providing information to New Yorkers as fast and in as many ways as possible, and BigApps will be yet another way to do that,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The information we’re providing is the public’s, and we’re relying on the creativity and talent of New York City’s tech and entrepreneurial communities to come up with innovative and helpful ways to use it. It’s a great example of a 21st Century public-private partnership.”

“Supporting entrepreneurs and start ups is an important component of our Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan and the Big Apps competition does just that,” said Deputy Mayor Lieber. “By partnering with the private sector to encourage innovative and forward thinking applications, we are capitalizing on existing resources to increase efficiency and transparency in government, stimulate investment and create jobs.”

“The City’s position as an innovation leader is greatly enhanced by the talented entrepreneurs who live and work here,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Seth W. Pinsky. “With the NYC BigApps Competition, we have provided developers in the tech community with an unprecedented opportunity to create applications that increase accessibility and transparency in City government, generate jobs, and improve the quality of life for New Yorkers.”

“The future of New York City government is providing customer-focused interaction with agencies, delivered in a manner most suitable to – and ultimately, through applications developed by – the end user,” said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Paul J. Cosgrave. “The NYC BigApps Competition establishes the foundation for this next generation of City government, of which input and contributions from the public it serves will be an integral part.”

The NYC BigApps Competition is open to individuals, start-up companies, and non-profit organizations with less than 50 employees, further developing efforts by the City to facilitate development within the entrepreneurial and start-up community. Information and updates on the competition, as well as Terms and Conditions, can be accessed at the competition website:

Thirteen winners will be chosen in total. A panel of representatives from the technology and venture capital community will select winners for Best Overall Application (Grand Prize, Second Prize, Third Prize and five honorable mentions), Investor’s Choice Application, Data Visualization Application, and City Talent Award. Judging criteria will include benefit to residents, visitors, and City government; originality; visual appeal; effectiveness in increasing data accessibility and government transparency; and potential commercial value. The panel is comprised of: NY Tech Meetup Co-founder Dawn Barber; Betaworks CEO John Borthwick; Co-founder Jason Calacanis; EDVenture Chairman Esther Dyson; CEO of FirstMark Capital, Lawrence Lenihan; AlleyCorp Chairman, CEO and Co-founder Kevin Ryan; DFJ Gotham Ventures Managing Partner Danny Schultz; and Union Square Ventures Partner Fred Wilson. In addition, the Popular Choice Application (First Prize and Second Prize) will be selected by public vote through between December 15, 2009 and January 7, 2010. Winners will be selected and announced at an awards ceremony in January 2010 and will receive a total of $20,000 in cash prizes.

NYCEDC and DoITT coordinated with nearly 30 City agencies and commissions to provide more than 170 datasets for the competition. In June, NYCEDC issued a Request for Expression of Interest, which asked respondents to provide suggestions of City data they would like to see accessible to application developers - and to submit ideas for how the data could be utilized in ways that are helpful to City residents and visitors. Datasets that will be available include geographic locations of all sidewalk cafes, laundry facilities, playgrounds, dog runs, City landmarks, as well as Census data, property valuation and assessments, property records and sales information, recreational facility directories, restaurant inspection results, permitted citywide events, and traffic updates. The datasets will be available for download today from the newly-created Data Mine at Data provided for the NYC BigApps initiative will continue to be updated on the Data Mine and remain available for public use after the conclusion of the competition. Additional datasets will be made available for subsequent year competitions.

“ChallengePost is thrilled to be powering the NYC BigApps Competition,” said ChallengePost Founder and CEO Brandon Kessler. “Our challenge network allows everyday citizens to motivate problem solvers. At, anyone can encourage government transparency with one click."

“As a NYC Big Apps judge, I’m looking forward to seeing our entrepreneurs and developers step up and bring their tremendous New York ingenuity to this initiative,” said NY Tech Meetup Co-founder Dawn Barber. “As an active member of the NY tech community, as well as a civically-engaged New Yorker, I'm excited to see this project become a huge success.”

Mayor Bloomberg introduced the NYC BigApps Competition in June as one of five technology initiatives to improve transparency, accessibility, and accountability across City government. The launch of the competition comes following Mayor Bloomberg’s unveiling of the Connected City Initiative, a series of technology programs to make City government more accessible and accountable.

Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent

(212) 788-2958
David Lombino/Libby Langsdorf (NYCEDC)

(212) 312-3523
Nicholas Sbordone
(212) 788-6602