Mayor Bloomberg Launches NYC BigApps 3.0 Competition, Announces New Technology Council and Immigration Seminars For Start-Ups
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, and Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway today launched NYC BigApps 3.0, the third annual contest for software developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using official City data. Originally launched in 2009, the BigApps competitions aim to improve government transparency, as well as improve the daily lives of New York City residents and visitors. This year’s BigApps will capitalize on the tremendous success of the previous two competitions, and make even more City data sets available. More than 60 City agencies, Commissions, and Business Improvement Districts will make more than 230 new data sets available for NYC BigApps 3.0, bringing the total number of data sets that will be available to developers to nearly 750. In addition, new categories this year will focus on health, education, mobility, and the environment. Over the course of the previous two competitions, NYC BigApps has helped create more than 140 new and innovative applications, and this year’s contest is expected to add to the already impressive roster of cutting edge applications that have been created as a result of the competition. Winning applications for BigApps 3.0 will receive cash prizes totaling $50,000, in addition to several non-monetary prizes. The Mayor made the announcement at tonight’s New York Tech Meetup – a monthly meeting of tech entrepreneurs featuring live demonstrations of new technologies from companies and developers – where he was joined by New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne and representatives from the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.
“Technology is going to define the 21st century economy, and I want to make sure those jobs are created in New York City,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “When I started my technology business, there was no better place to be than the Big Apple. The BigApps competition is just one of the ways we’re making sure that’s still true for today’s entrepreneurs and for the visionaries of the future.”
NYC BigApps is part of the Bloomberg Administration’s larger efforts to further catalyze the City’s technology sector as well as foster growth within the entrepreneurial community. As part of these overall efforts, the Mayor today announced two new initiatives that address these areas. The first is the creation of the Mayor’s Council on Technology and Innovation, a group of New York City-based leaders that will seek to identify new opportunities for the City to cultivate success in this rapidly growing sector. It will also address areas of concern or risk that the technology sector may face, as well as identify joint action items for the City and members of the Council to undertake. Deputy Mayor Steel will chair the Council, and members will include:
- John Borthwick, Beta Works, Founder & CEO
- Marc Cenedella, TheLadders, Founder & CEO
- Perry Chen, Kickstarter, Founder & CEO
- Susan Crawford, Cardozo School of Law, Professor, former Special Assistant to President Obama for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy
- Ntiedo Etuk, DimensionU, Co-Founder & CEO
- Jonah Goodhart, Moat, Founder & co-CEO
- Mitch Jacobs, On Deck Capital, Founder & CEO
- Susan Lyne, Gilt Groupe, Chairman
- Hilary Mason, bit.ly, Chief Scientist
- Barry Silbert, SecondMarket, Founder & CEO
- David Tisch, TechStars NYC, Managing Director
The second is a new initiative to ensure start-up companies are able to harness the talent that exists within the City’s immigrant community. As a result, Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, a top immigration law firm in New York City, will lead seminars covering immigration considerations for startups. The seminar will include an overview of the non-immigrant visa categories, requirements for eligibility for both businesses and employees, and employee/beneficiary issues. General Assembly – one of nine City-sponsored small business incubators – will host the seminars, which will begin later this fall.
“New York City continues to be the destination of choice for innovators and big thinkers, and the three initiatives launched tonight by Mayor Bloomberg are representative of our commitment to doing everything we can to help make the City the best place to start and expand innovation-driven businesses,” Deputy Mayor Steel said. “I am looking forward to working with the members of the Mayor’s Council on the Technology and Innovation Economy to develop new strategies to encourage New York’s innovation economy.”
“Over the past two years, we have witnessed the enormous impact that NYC BigApps has had on our City’s rapidly growing technology sector and the citizens it aims to serve,” said New York City Economic Development President Seth W. Pinsky. “With BigApps 3.0, we are once again prepared to build upon this success. By fostering the creative ideas that this competition is certain to produce, we will empower the next generation of entrepreneurs, further establish New York City as a hub of innovation for the 21st Century, and continue to establish New York City as one of the most transparent cities on the planet.”
“NYC BigApps has become best-of-breed among data competitions, and the new NYC Open Data portal furthers these efforts with powerful new features to spark and sustain conversations about how public information can be used in meaningful ways,” said DoITT Commissioner Carole Post. “By making a treasure trove of datasets available for free, anytime, and in one place, we’re empowering developers, small businesses, and the public alike to help shape the future of New York City.”
“NYC BigApps has been an engine for innovation since its launch in 2009,” said Chief Digital Officer Sterne. “I am thrilled to help celebrate its third year, as well as the hundreds of City employees and app developers who have made it the success it is today. This year’s open data developments are a direct result of thoughtful input from the technology community, and play a crucial role in enabling New York City to fulfill its potential as a Digital City.”
“In New York City and across the country, we need to do everything we can to attract and keep the entrepreneurs, innovators and skilled workers vital to new businesses, company growth and job creation – regardless of what country they were born in,” said John Feinblatt, the Mayor’s Chief Policy Advisor. “The workshops provided by Fragomen are a great first step in helping New York’s next startup grow, but more must be done at the federal level – which is why over 350 mayors and business leaders from all 50 states have joined Mayor Bloomberg in the Partnership for a New American Economy to call for economically sensible changes to America’s immigration policy.”
NYC BigApps 3.0 is open to individual developers, as well companies and non-profits with fewer than 50 employees. Organizations with 50 or more employees may enter to receive recognition, but are not eligible for cash prizes. New York City Economic Development Corporation and the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunication have worked with 63 City agencies, Commissions, and Business Improvement Districts across the City – including 17 new agencies, Commissions and BIDs – to provide the 237 new data sets available on the recently updated NYC Open Data site, formerly known as the NYC Data Mine. This is in addition to the data sets that have previously been available, bringing the total to 748. Among the agencies, commissions, and BIDs providing new data this year are the Health and Hospitals Corporation, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of Education. Examples of this new data include a directory of HHC Facilities; electricity, gas and steam consumption available by zip code; and school attendance and report statistics. Starting today the information will be available for download at NYC Open Data at www.nyc.gov/data. In addition, as part of the City’s ongoing efforts to increase transparency in City government, the data will remain accessible to the public after the completion of the BigApps 3.0 Competition.
This year’s NYC BigApps competition is once again being launched in partnership with BMW iVentures, along with Challenge Post, an NYC start-up that enables competitive public problem-solving, who will administer the competition for the third consecutive year. In addition to the categories created in previous years, there are also five new categories, including: Best Green App, Best Health App, Best Education App, Best Mobility App, and Best NYC Mashup App. The Best NYC Mashup category will be awarded to the developer who best utilizes NYC data combined with additional data provided by participating New York City startups. The companies providing new data this year will include: bit.ly, DonorsChoose.Org, Etsy, Foursquare, Tumblr, Hunch, Meetup, GetGlue , Magma, Min.us, NewsBlur, Readability, Yipit, RecordSetter, as well as others that may be added in the coming weeks. This year, in order to provide additional platforms for creativity and development, a BigApps 3.0 Hackathon will be held at Pivotal Labs on November 11th through 13th, bringing together developers and other members of the tech community.
Submissions for NYC BigApps 3.0 are due by 5pm EST on January 25, 2012. Official competition rules, as well as additional information and updates can be found on the competition website: www.NYCBigApps.com.
A total of 13 cash prizes will be awarded this year, in addition to non-monetary prizes, and winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in the spring of 2012. Non-monetary prizes include two NY Tech Meetup demo slots, two TechStars finalist spots, and membership in the inaugural BigApps Founders Network, which will provide mentorship, networking and business support services to help winners launch or build their startups. In addition, the winner of the Best NYC Mashup will get a meeting with a representative of the startup whose API the winner used.
This year’s NYC BigApps judging panel will be comprised of: Dawn Barber Co-founder, New York Tech Meetup; John Borthwick CEO, Betaworks; Alex Diehl, Managing Director of BMW iVentures; Chris Dixon CEO & Co-founder, Hunch; Esther Dyson Chairman, Edventure; Stuart Ellman Co-founder & General Partner, RRE Ventures; Charlie Kim, CEO Next Jump; Lawrence Lenihan Founder, CEO and Managing Director, FirstMark Capital; Carole Post Commissioner, NYC DoITT; Danny Schultz Co-founder & Managing Director, DFJ Gotham Ventures; Naveen Selvadurai Co-founder, Foursquare; Kristy Sundjaja, Senior Director, Head of Industry Transformation Department, Center for Economic Transformation, NYCEDC; Kara Swisher Co-Executive Editor, All Things Digital; David Tisch Managing Director TechStars; and Fred Wilson Managing Partner, Union Square Ventures.
“We are excited to once again be a partner for the NYC BigApps program, sponsoring BigApps 3.0,” said Alex Diehl, Managing Director of BMW iVentures. “BMW iVentures is dedicated to working with the City in supporting the technology entrepreneur community and to being a part of its growth and development. We believe the NYC BigApps program is an excellent way to do so.”
“We are thrilled to be powering NYC BigApps 3.0, part of the most successful multi-year government apps initiative in history,” said Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost. “Developers have more data than ever to use in their software, including, for the first time, data from exciting New York City companies.”
“Fragomen is delighted to partner with Mayor Bloomberg in providing immigration classes for New York’s next new companies,” said Austin Fragomen, founding attorney of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen and Loewy, LLP. “Hiring the right talent at the right time for the right job can be crucial to a startup – or any company – and we want to help New York’s newest entrepreneurs attract and keep the international talent they need to innovate, grow, and create new jobs.”
Originally launched in 2009 by Mayor Bloomberg, NYC Big Apps has helped create more than 140 applications, and has engaged more than 125,000 unique visitors to the website leading to more than 14,000 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 City 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.