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2014 NYC BigApps Expands Tech's Reach


heat seek

Can your cell phone help reduce your heating bill and strengthen tenant’s rights?

Yes, thanks to one of the winners of this year’s NYC BigApps competition.

On Tuesday night, NYC BigApps, the nation's largest municipally-supported civic innovation competition, awarded over $100,000 in prize money to tech solutions that help solve some of New York City’s most pressing challenges. In an award ceremony that Mayor de Blasio joked is "bigger than the Grammys, bigger than the Emmys,” NYC BigApps awarded $20,000 to each winner in the Live, Work, Learn, and Play categories, while $25,000 was distributed among winners in the best mobile app, web app, connected device, data tool, and game categories.

Over the last few years, New York City has developed a vast tech ecosystem, including some of the biggest names in the industry—Warby Parker, Gilt, Tumblr—that provides over $55 billion in annual wages.

NYCEDC has been developing programs that help bolster this ecosystem: a vast Applied Sciences Initiative that leverages talent from the educational and business communities to produce thousands more engineers and companies per year, a talent pipeline to equip the next generation of New Yorkers with the skills and knowledge to master that ecosystem, and incubators around the city to facilitate the transition from idea to marketplace.


What’s really important about the BigApps competition is that, while the City has long asked what it can do to help the tech ecosystem, this is one program that asks what tech can do for New York City.

NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball, who announced the 2014 winners alongside Mayor de Blasio, said that by opening up a broad spectrum of municipal data on transportation, safety, utility consumption, and more to the public, "our tech community has engaged in the most modern, 21st century of civic acts: creating digital solutions to better the lives of our neighbors." 

Some of the 2014 BigApps winning products truly delivered.

  • Heat Seek NYC delivers objective heating data that will empower the justice system to tackle the number of heating complaints that are made to 311 every winter, and took home awards in the “Live” and “Best Connected Device” categories.
  • helps low-income New Yorkers find job opportunities more quickly and easily, for which it was awarded best “Work” related innovation.
  • CourseKicker, an online professional learning network that allows teachers to connect, collaborate, and share best practices with colleagues beyond their own schools, anywhere in the world, won the "Learn" category.
  • Explore NYC Parks makes New York a better place to live by making our parks easier to explore, discover, and enjoy. By consolidating NYC park data with the Google Maps API, Explore NYC Parks encourages public utilization and awareness of New York City’s parks and public spaces, and won the “Best Data Tool” and “Play” category awards.
  • Mind My Business, which gives shopkeepers peace of mind by helping local businesses manage their digital data and strengthen their bottom line, won the award for Best Mobile App.
  • Dream See Do enables students and adults to explore a range of career possibilities and take related experiential challenges with NYC-based mentors, and won the “Best Web App” Award.
  • PIPs leverages the power of points, smart tools and games to record and reward daily life choices that benefit environmental, community and personal health, to win the "Best Game" award.

“We are incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to compete in NYC BigApps,” said Jarryd Hammel, Heat Seek NYC’s Head of Business Development. “This competition and the other entrants constantly pushed us to improve, and our win is evidence of the New York tech community’s power to produce innovative solutions to the city’s toughest civic problems. We can’t wait to show you what we can do this winter, and we promise you’ll be glad you chose us.”


In its fifth year, NYC BigApps is resounding proof of NYC tech’s meteoric rise.

BigApps experienced twice the number of tech submissions as last year and a fourfold increase in civic partnerships coupled with the nearly 300,000 New Yorkers employed in the tech industry and the boundless creative energy generated at numerous civic hacking events across the five boroughs. All of this has resulted in tremendous momentum for NYC’s tech scene: over 2000 registrants, 3000 event attendees, 100 private sector and nonprofit partners, and 100 entries.

The power of the city's tech ecosystem isn't just in the hundreds of thousands of homegrown jobs it provides for New Yorkers, but in its potential to create real, tech-driven solutions that enhance quality of life in the city.

- Mayor de Blasio

This year, the competition was expanded beyond mobile apps to include other members of NYC’s tech ecosystem: connected devices, games, and data visualization tools. Bottom line: innovators, entrepreneurs or anyone with an interest in helping the city is welcome to the BigApps community.

NYCEDC is proud to be the primary sponsor of the City’s innovators and entrepreneurs by ensuring that they have all the talent, space, and mentorship needed to succeed.

For a full list of this year's 20 finalists, visit the NYC BigApps website and find more ways that NYCEDC helps ensure that entrepreneurs have all the talent, space, and mentorship needed to succeed here in NYC.

Congratulations to all the participants in this year’s competition!



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