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Deputy Mayor Steel, NYCEDC, and DoITT Announce Winners of NYC BigApps Ideas Challenge

Press Release


Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) President Seth W. Pinsky and New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner Carole Post today announced the ten winning ideas of the NYC BigApps Ideas Challenge, a competition for the public to submit new ideas for web, desktop, or mobile applications that would benefit New York City residents, businesses, and visitors. The Ideas Challenge, which was open to both developers and non-developers, was designed to build upon the success of the annual NYC BigApps Competition, a contest for individual software developers or companies to create applications utilizing official City data., The winning submissions from the Ideas Challenge will provide a rich resource of innovative ideas that could ultimately be developed in the upcoming NYC BigApps 3.0 competition, which is expected to launch in fall 2011. ChallengePost, a global marketplace for challenges and community-driven innovation, powered the Ideas Challenge, and the ten winners were selected by a panel of judges after public voting initially narrowed the field down to 25 finalists.

“The quality and scope of the responses to our BigApps Ideas Challenge is the latest evidence of New York City’s increasingly vibrant and dynamic technology sector,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “The Bloomberg Administration is committed to supporting the innovators and entrepreneurs that are helping New York build on its legacy as the capital of American innovation.”

“As expected, the Ideas Challenge has built upon the success of BigApps and demonstrated the tremendous amount of talent and innovative thinking that exists among developers and non-developers here in New York City,” said Seth W. Pinsky, President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “This competition has given a voice to New Yorkers with creative ideas on how to improve their City, but who don’t necessarily have the technical capabilities to create an app themselves. These winning ideas will now help shape the future of web, desktop or mobile apps, and, most importantly, will benefit the lives of New Yorkers across the five boroughs. I congratulate all the winners on this terrific achievement.”

“The greatest City in the world is clearly driven by some of the greatest minds in the world – and nowhere is that more apparent than through the NYC BigApps Ideas Challenge” said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post. “I congratulate all the winners and can’t wait for their ideas to help shape the City’s digital tomorrow.”

There were over 600 ideas submitted to the NYC BigApps Ideas Challenge and over 1,600 votes were cast for people’s favorite idea. The top 25 application ideas with the most votes were named as finalists, and each was awarded $100. The 25 finalists were then evaluated by a panel of judges, who selected the ten best overall ideas, each of which will receive an additional $250 for their winning idea.

The ten winning ideas include NYC apps that (name of submitter in parentheses):

  • Let you 'like' or rate any street or block in the 5 boroughs (Carlos J. Gomez de Llarena)
  • Create networks of citizens who can chime in about their borough, district and neighborhood issues with local government (Carlos J. Gomez de Llarena)
  • Provide an open API to all MTA transit information, schedules, delays, and current locations of trains and buses
  • Aggregate bike accident data to make/help petition for safer bike routes (Trev Eld)
  • Allow residents to rate their building's owner, management co., landlord, even brokers and lets interested renters browse those ratings (Bud Caddell)
  • Aggregate all the volunteer initiatives available, its cause and allows someone to register/participate (Christopher Bian)
  • Tell someone when the next subway car is to arrive at their station, before they go underground (Stephen Mellert)
  • Has a visual, color coded map of all street parking rules, regulations and street cleaning schedules (Will Turnage)
  • For each borough gives the location of nearest public restrooms with A, B, C, D type ratings for their cleanliness and the level of safety (Sheryl Commodore)
  • Tells someone their options during an emergency based on where they are and what their status is (Kelly Thompson)

"We're excited that this has helped grow the ecosystem around NYC BigApps by bringing in non-developers and their great suggestions in order to improve NYC quality of life through software," said Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost.

The judges for the Ideas Challenge were Dawn Barber, Co-founder, New York Tech Meetup; Alex Diehl, Managing Director BMW i Ventures; Charlie O’Donnell, Principal at First Round Capital; Carole Post, DoITT Commissioner; Clay Shirky, Associate Arts Professor, ITP and Distinguished Writer in Residence, Journalism Department at NYU; and Steven Strauss, Managing Director of the Center for Economic Transformation at NYCEDC.

Originally launched in 2009 by Mayor Bloomberg, the first NYC BigApps Competition made more than 170 official City datasets 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 train station. Other winners included Taxihack, Big Apple Ed, NYC Way, and Bookzee. In 2010, NYC BigApps 2.0 was launched, making available nearly 400 datasets and led to the selection of fourteen 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 and Parking Finder.

The formal announcement of the NYC BigApps Ideas Challenge winners will be made later this evening by Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel at a reception for the NYC Venture Fellows, a year-long fellowship program that connects emerging business leaders from around the world with mentors from leading companies. At the event it will also be announced that NYC Venture Fellows would begin accepting nominations for the 2012 class of fellows. Originally launched in December 2010, NYC Venture Fellows aims to increase collaboration among startup and established businesses, and encourages national and international startups to locate and grow their businesses in New York City. The 2012 class of Venture Fellows like the current inaugural class — will include 20-30 entrepreneurs from New York City and around the world. The annual program is a joint-effort between New York City Economic Development Corporation and Fordham University. The nomination process will close September 15th and Fellows will be selected by the end of the year.

Both the NYC BigApps Ideas Challenge and NYC Venture Fellows are part of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to encourage entrepreneurship within a variety of sectors. The City has recently issued a Request for Proposals for Applied Sciences NYC, the City’s initiative to build or expand a state-of-the-art engineering and applied sciences campus in New York City. Applied Sciences NYC will be a critical driver of the further diversification of New York City’s economy, generating billions of dollars in economic activity, spinning off hundreds of new companies, and creating nearly 30,000 jobs, according to an economic impact analysis. Also, with a network of nine incubators around the City, the Administration is providing low-cost office space, as well as training and networking opportunities, to hundreds of start-ups and small businesses. The City also launched the New York City Entrepreneurial Fund (NYCEF) in 2010, the first City-sponsored seed and early-stage investment fund located outside of Silicon Valley. NYCEF will make up to $22 million available to New York City-based technology startups.

To support or learn more about this initiative go to the dedicated Applied Sciences NYC pages on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information on NYC Venture Fellows and to submit a nomination go to www.nycventurefellows.org.

About NYCEDC
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City's primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC's mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City's competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City's many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.

About NYC DoITT
The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is at the center of shaping New York City’s IT strategy and policy, especially as it relates to the emerging and innovative technologies making government more effective and user-friendly. As part of the NYC BigApps competition, DoITT established and maintains the NYC DataMine at www.nyc.gov/data to house hundreds of supporting datasets and associated information for the competition. The NYC DataMine is a revolutionary approach to storing and representing data from dozens of City agencies in a consolidated, cohesive and customer-friendly manner.

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