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What is NYC BigApps?


NYC BigApps 2015 is the premier civic tech initiative of the City of New York. Over five months, BigApps challenges developers, designers, and entrepreneurs to create functioning, marketable tech tools that help solve pressing civic challenges. Whether you’re a novice or pro, a coder or a content specialist, building an app, a device, or another product altogether, we provide resources that make it easy to make a difference.


This year, we’re asking teams to build products around four Challenge tracks: Affordable Housing, Zero Waste, Connected Cities, and Civic Engagement. We’ve partnered with over a dozen City agencies, policy advocates, and tech experts to offer mentorship and help create impactful products around these Challenges. Don’t worry: if you have another great idea for how to make New York City better, we’d love to see it in our Wildcard category.


BigApps is led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). This year’s competition is administered by HR&A Advisors, Inc., in partnership with SUPER VISiON, Supercharger Studio, Savvy Strategy, and Civic Hall, and supported by a broad array of program partners and sponsors.


What are you waiting for? Get started now and make your impact on the Big Apple!

Competition Timeline

BigApps launches on Thursday, July 16 and submissions are due on Wednesday, October 14. Grand Prizes will be awarded in December. Sign up for updates on events and deadline reminders.


Selection Committee Judges

John Paul Farmer

Director of Technology and Civic Innovation, Microsoft

Ben Fried

Chief Information Officer, Google

Daniel Huttenlocher

Dean and Vice Provost, Cornell Tech

Jennifer Jones Austin

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Jessica Lawrence

Executive Director, NY Tech Meetup

William Pence

Executive Vice President and Global Chief Technology Officer, AOL

Euan Robertson

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, New York City Economic Development Corporation

Andrew Salkin

Chief Operating Officer, 100 Resilient Cities

Minerva Tantoco

Chief Technology Officer, The City of New York


BigApps offers $125,000 in cash prizes and product development resources to winning teams and finalists to advance implementation of their products.


This year’s winners will receive:

Cash Rewards

  • $25,000 for the Grand Prize winner in each Challenge track
  • $5,000 for the Best Wildcard submission


Implementation Support

  • Two months of post-competition mentorship and networking curated by Civic Hall
  • Two months of access to Civic Hall meeting spaces, community events, and additional resources
  • Two months of mentorship and matchmaking by Challenge Partners (Challenge winners only)


This year’s winners and finalists will receive:

  • 6-month full scholarship to General Assembly Front Row
  • Pitch and feedback sessions with leading civic tech investor Urban.us
  • … and more!

Eligibility, Submission, & Evaluation

BigApps welcomes apps, websites, devices, or any other tech tool from individuals, teams, and companies seeking to improve life in NYC. Companies with more than 25 employees or that have raised more than $1 million may compete but are not eligible for cash prizes. For a full list of BigApps Terms & Conditions, including eligibility, click here.


To submit, create a project page and indicate the Challenge track you’d like to compete for. Our CollabFinder-powered platform will let you know what page elements must be complete for your submission to be eligible. If you have any questions, visit our FAQ page or e-mail us at info@bigapps.nyc.


BigApps submissions in all Challenge tracks will be evaluated based on three attributes:

  1. Ambition: How far does the product go to address the core issues behind the Challenge?
  2. Practicality: How likely is it that the product can be implemented in NYC?
  3. Impact: How much will the product improve the lives of New York’s residents, visitors, and/or businesses?


BigApps Brain Trust

This year, we’ve teamed up with some of the sharpest minds in NYC tech and design to create the BigApps Brain Trust, a cohort of experts available to teams as they ideate, innovate, and develop their products. The BigApps Brain Trust includes:

  • BetaNYC – resource and data, including use of BetaNYC’s community data portal
  • General Assembly – technical support, including complimentary access to FrontRow for all participants and additional perks for winners
  • IDEO – product ideation and design
  • Urban.us – business planning and investor strategy
  • Yahoo – web, mobile, and hardware development

The BigApps Brain Trust will offer workshops, office hours, and other special offers throughout the competition. We’ll be updating our news & events section and our biweekly newsletter; check for the latest!


Data & Devices

BigApps was born as an open data competition, and data continues to drive many teams’ solutions. Visit NYC Open Data’s BigApps portal to find a list of public data sets and APIs curated for this competition. Also see individual Challenge pages for additional resources.

Team BigApps has a library of beacons and other devices for use by teams. We will make this library available at key events, but please contact us at info@bigapps.nyc to discuss use of devices on an individual basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

For a full list of FAQs related to the competition, click here.

Terms and Conditions

For a full list of rules and terms and conditions, click here.