New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today announced the 20 finalists of NYC BigApps 2015, the nation’s largest civic innovation competition. BigApps invites New Yorkers to create tech products that use public and private data to address pressing challenges facing the City. NYC BigApps 2015 asks entrants to make the City a better place for all New Yorkers by addressing four issues identified in Mayor de Blasio’s One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City – Affordable Housing, Zero Waste, Connected Cities and Civic Engagement.
Teams were encouraged to submit mobile and web apps, connected devices, games and other technology products that address these issues, catalyzing collaboration between multidisciplinary teams of programmers, engineers, designers, marketers, entrepreneurs and civic professionals. Winning teams, one or more from each category, will receive cash prizes totaling $125,000, as well as in-kind prizes and opportunities to collaborate with public and private partners to implement their products. Official competition rules, as well as additional information and updates, can be found on the competition website: www.NYCBigApps.com.
“For the last several years, NYC BigApps has unleashed New York City’s tech ecosystem to make the City a better place for New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC Chief Operating Officer Euan Robertson. “This year we challenged New York City’s innovators and technology entrepreneurs to solve some of our City’s greatest challenges by addressing affordability, waste, connectedness and civic engagement, and these finalists have risen to the challenge. Congratulations to each team for making it this far, and I look forward to seeing these technologies make our City a better place.”
“This year’s Big Apps competition is bigger and better than ever,” said Council Member James Vacca, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Technology. “So many of the proposals address serious needs in our city in a creative and innovative way. I was honored to be a judge in this competition.”
The 20 finalists were selected from more than 100 applicant teams through a rigorous evaluation process that included live pitches and demos to two dozen independent evaluators during a Demo Day in DUMBO on November 1, 2015. Finalists now have three weeks to refine their products before a final pitch in December, when the BigApps Selection Committee will award $125,000 in prizes, sponsored by some of the City’s leading tech companies. Prizes will be awarded to the best projects that address the challenges – Affordable Housing, Zero Waste, Connected Cities and Civic Engagement.
The 20 finalists are:
In addition to this year’s 20 finalists, SONYC, developed by postgraduates from NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, has been named a BigApps Pro team. The BigApps Pro designation entitles the team to ongoing collaboration with City agencies and partners and access to BigApps alumni services, but not a cash prize, due to the team’s size and funding sources.
“We’re living in the Data Age, in which open government data resources are pivotal to New York’s growing tech ecosystem,” said Microsoft Director of Technology and Civic Innovation John Paul Farmer. “Microsoft supports BigApps because we understand that our city’s most powerful force for good is its people. When we connect New Yorkers to the city’s most-pressing challenges, in-demand tech skills, and open data that can fuel their innovations, we unlock opportunity and supercharge progress. That’s what BigApps is all about.”
“At AOL we are constantly looking for ways to improve the lives of our users and consumers,” said AOL Chief Technology Officer William Pence. “We are thrilled to partner with BigApps and the teams working to solve some of the real problems facing New York City. I look forward to meeting the teams and the tools they have created to improve this great city.”
The BigApps 2015 finalists will be judged based on their potential impact, technical design, and readiness to be implemented as either a private product or a pilot program of the City or another civic partner. This year’s Selection Committee will include an esteemed mix of leaders in the technology, design and civic sectors.
The 2015 competition has attracted the largest and most diverse network of sponsors yet, led by banner sponsors Microsoft, AOL, Facebook, Pentagram, Capital One, BMW iVentures, Cisco, and Intersection. In addition, each Challenge category has been supported by a group of City agencies, civic organizations, and private firms that have helped teams ideate, design and build products through mentor office hours and events. A complete list of partners can be found here. This year’s contest was designed and is being managed by HR&A Advisors, Inc., in collaboration with SUPER VISION, Supercharger Studio, Savvy Strategy, and Civic Hall.
Launched in 2009, NYC BigApps has helped create over 500 apps and other tech products, and has engaged more than 500,000 New Yorkers. Last year’s competition awarded seven grand prizes; winners included Heat Seek NYC, an Internet of Things technology that allows New York City tenants to track and report heating violations in their apartments, and Mind My Business, a web and mobile app that keeps small businesses updated about local happenings in their communities. Both products remain in development, and teams continue to work with New York City officials to integrate the technology with public data and services.
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