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Terms and Conditions


  1. Introduction
  2. Eligibility
  3. Timeline
  4. Challenge Tracks and Evaluation Criteria
  5. Submission Requirements
  6. Prizes
  7. Evaluation Process
  8. Verification of Potential Winners
  9. Post-Competition Support
  10. Ownership of Information
  11. Other Things to Know



1. Introduction

NYC BigApps 2015 (the “Competition”) is an initiative of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (the “Sponsor”). The Competition is managed by the Sponsor’s consultant HR&A Advisors, Inc. (“HR&A”, hereinafter called the “Administrator”).

The Competition is intended to provide recognition to individuals and entities (“Contestants”) for developing technological products (“Apps”) that positively impact New York City. The Competition intends to award prizes for the Apps that have the greatest potential positive impact around four issue-based tracks: affordable housing, zero waste, connected cities, and civic engagement (“Challenges”). Challenges detail an issue facing New Yorkers and ask teams to propose a technological solution to that issue. Winners and finalists may receive cash and in-kind prizes, media promotion, introductions to mentors and investors, and other benefits through the Competition.

Contestants may elect to develop Apps based on one or more of the four proposed Challenge tracks or elect to enter a fifth “wildcard” track (altogether “Tracks”) for Apps that do not fit into one of the four Challenge tracks. Apps within the Challenge tracks may be eligible for additional prizes and business support offered at the discretion of the entity or entities sponsoring the Challenges (“Challenge Partner”).



2. Eligibility

The Competition is open to individuals and entities. Products may include, but are not limited to, web apps, mobile apps, data visualizations or visualization tools, social games, or products considered a component of the “internet of things.” All submissions are encouraged to make use of public or private data sets or APIs, or generate new sets of data useable by the public.

Entities with 25 or more employees or that have raised more than $5 million in capital (“BigApps Pros”) will be eligible to participate in the Competition, but will not be eligible for cash prizes. BigApps Pros must indicate their status as such when submitting their Apps on the Closing Date (see Section 6 for more information on submission requirements).

Contestants may submit a new product designed specifically for the Competition or an existing product that aligns with one or more Challenge tracks or that otherwise address a civic challenge. All Apps must:

  1. Be solely owned by Contestant such that no other party has any rights or interest, whether known or unknown; and not violate the intellectual property, common law, or privacy rights of other parties. A Contestant may contract with a third party to assist with the creation of their App, provided the Contestant is the sole and unequivocal owner of all intellectual property and licenses in the App.
  2. Be original; all Contestants are encouraged to review prior NYC BigApps winning submissions at http://www.nycedc.com/services/nyc-bigapps/past-competitions
  3. Be either in English or, if in a language other than English, be accompanied by an English translation of the text.
  4. Comply with the terms of use of data sets listed by Sponsors.
  5. Not be indecent, defamatory, in obvious bad taste, demonstrate a lack of respect for public morals or conduct, or adversely affect the reputation of the Sponsors; be illegal under applicable laws; depict hatred, defame, threaten a specific community in the society or incite violence; contain vulgar language or violence; or contain pornography, obscenity, or sexual activity.

Contestants selected as Winners of the Competition must also be willing to sign a Winners Agreement that certifies that the Contestant has complied with all rules of this Competition. All Apps awarded prizes by the Competition must be made available to the public, or include functionality that is available to the public, at no cost for a period of at least one year following the conclusion of the Competition.

Failure to comply with any of these requirements may result in disqualification from the Competition at the Sponsors’ sole discretion.

Submissions will not be accepted after the Closing Date, unless determined to be in the best interest of the Competition in the sole and absolute discretion of the Sponsor. If the Administrator requests additional information from any Contestant, that Contestant will have the opportunity to update the initial submission. The Sponsor and Administrator reserve the right to request additional information from any Contestant at any time.

BigApps is open to legal residents, 14 or older, of the 50 United States (plus the District of Columbia). All corporations or other organizations participating must be legally domiciled in the United States and incorporated at the time of entry. Minors must identify themselves upon sign-up and will require parental or legal guardian consent to participate.

The Competition is not open to:

  1. Any HR&A affiliate, which includes any officer, director, or employee of HR&A or of HR&A’s subcontractors for the Competition, or to the immediate family (spouses, parents, step-parents, siblings, step-siblings, children or step-children), or to the household members (people who share the same residence at least three (3) months out of the year) of each such HR&A affiliate;
  2. Any NYCEDC affiliate, which includes any officer, director, or employee of NYCEDC, or to the immediate family or household members, as defined in the previous bullet, of each such NYCEDC affiliate;
  3. Sponsors, Judges, Mentors, or any of their respective affiliates, immediate family, and household members (all as defined in previous bullets)

Employees of the City of New York who are not involved in the design of the Competition or the evaluation of Contestants and do not work for the Sponsor or any respective affiliates, subsidiaries, or any other company or individual involved with Competition design or the evaluation of Contestants, and their immediate family and household members may participate, but must make the Administrator aware of potential real or perceived conflicts of interest prior to submission. Grantees and other contractors of NYCEDC, or any of their affiliates, immediate family, and household members, are eligible to participate unless they are directly involved with Competition design or the evaluation of Contestants, or are otherwise deemed ineligible above.

The Competition is subject to all applicable United States federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Participation constitutes entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules and Sponsor’s and Administrator’s decisions, which are final and binding on all matters related to the Competition. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.



3. Timeline

Contestants may submit Apps only through BigApps.NYC or, for contestants that are unable to register accounts, through the Alternative Submission Form, and only between July 16, 2015 (the “Opening Date”) and October 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time (“EDT”) (the “Closing Date”) (the “Competition Submission Period”). The Administrator’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Competition. It is anticipated that a list of Finalists will be announced in late October 2015 and that the Awards Ceremony will take place in New York City in December 2015.

  1. July 16 – October 14: Competition Submission Period
  2. Late October: Finalists Announced
  3. Early December: Final Judging & Awards Ceremony



4. Challenge Tracks and Evaluation Criteria

Eligible Apps will be evaluated within each of the five tracks (four Challenges tracks and a wildcard track) by Judges and other selected representatives of the Sponsor (“Evaluators”). A list of Challenge tracks, including short Challenge statements, is below:

  1. Affordable Housing: Expand access to affordable housing for all New Yorkers.
  2. Zero Waste: Equip New Yorkers with new tools to reduce waste at home and work.
  3. Connected Cities: Leverage the Internet of Things to improve New Yorkers’ daily lives.
  4. Civic Engagement: Create a ‘digital town hall’ where all New Yorkers can weigh in on city priorities.
  5. Wildcard: Topics related to civic life not included in the above four tracks; may address topics such as arts and culture, workforce development, economic mobility, small business, education, youth services, parks and open space, tourism, transportation, and health, among others.

Judges and Evaluators will rate each App according to their perception of how effectively the App makes New York City a better place through technology. Judges and Evaluators will broadly consider the following aspects of each App:

  1. For Apps submitted in a Challenge track, the success of the App at solving the issue or issues identified on individual Challenge pages on BigApps.NYC;
  2. Potential positive impact on the lives of New York City residents, visitors, or businesses;
  3. Long-term viability, including size of potential user base, business prospects, quality and thoroughness of implementation plan, and potential for the App to be implemented citywide;
  4. Functionality, user experience and design; and
  5. Contestant team’s participation in BigApps events and the BigApps web platform.

The Sponsor and Administrator are unable to provide feedback on individual applications while the competition is ongoing. The Sponsor, Administrator, Judges, and Evaluators reserve the right to consider criteria other than the aforementioned, and to assign to each of the above and to any such other criteria such weights as the Sponsor, Administrator, Judges, and Evaluators may determine at their sole discretion.



5. Submission Requirements

All Contestants must create a Project Page on BigApps.NYC; participants that are unable to register on BigApps.NYC may submit their projects through the Alternative Submission Form. To be deemed eligible for prizes, all Project Pages and alternative form submissions must contain the following:

  1. A video walk-through of the working App OR a link that allows users to download/access and use the App.
  2. A text description of the App, including how the App addresses the issue proposed in the respective Challenge for Apps submitted in the four Challenge tracks OR how the App improves life in New York City for the wildcard track.
  3. A text description of an approach to how the App might be implemented citywide.
  4. A list of individuals who contributed to the App and their primary skillset.
  5. Selection of a Track addressed by the App.
  6. An indication of whether the Contestant falls under the BigApps Pro competition track.

In addition, to be eligible for prizes, all Contestants are required to participate in, and publicly present their App at, the BigApps Demo Day, tentatively scheduled for a Saturday or Sunday in late October. If Contestant has multiple team members, at least one member must be present at the Demo Day. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify at its sole discretion Contestants that fail to participate in the Demo Day.

Apps will be posted publicly on BigApps.NYC. Apps are expected to have been tested for basic functionality, accuracy of messaging, and integrity (i.e. security). The Administrator has the right to request access to the App in person or via any reasonable manner to verify that the App functions and operates as stated on the Project Page. Failure by a Contestant to honor such a request may result in the App’s disqualification.

The Sponsor will actively solicit and encourage public feedback for all Apps throughout the Competition period. Contestants are expected to make good-faith efforts to read and consider public feedback and to respond to it when appropriate.



6. Prizes

Judges are expected to select one Grand Prize winner in each Challenge track, as detailed below, and to receive dollar amounts as indicated by the Administrator and displayed publicly prior to the Closing Date:

  1. Affordable Housing Grand Prize
  2. Zero Waste Grand Prize
  3. Connected Cities Grand Prize
  4. Civic Engagement Grand Prize
  5. Wildcard Prize

Additional prizes – potentially including cash and in-kind awards – may be available and will be listed on BigApps.NYC. In addition to these prizes, Finalists and Grand Prize winners will participate in the Awards Ceremony and will have information posted about their organization on the Competition website, and will be included in at least one press release by the Sponsor.

Contestants working on specific Challenges may also have the opportunity to further improve and develop their App after the Competition Period, in exchange for additional cash payments, in-kind services, business development opportunities, or other product support. Additional prizes are not guaranteed and will be distributed only if winning Apps meet the milestones set forth in terms established by the Challenge Partner or Partners.

For all Prizes, winners are responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use. Sponsor reserves the right to substitute prizes of comparable value. No transfer or substitution of a prize is permitted except by Sponsor. The prize check will be mailed to the winner’s address or wired to the winner’s bank account within 60 days of receipt of the signed affidavit(s) of eligibility and liability/publicity release(s) form(s). If a winning Contestant is a team of individuals, a corporation, or an organization, the prize will be awarded to the primary contact listed on the Project Page on BigApps.NYC.



7. Evaluation Process

Prior to the Closing Date, Contestants will specify which of the five Challenge tracks their App addresses. One App in each track may win the Grand Prize for that track. Contestants may submit an App to more than one track but each App is eligible for only one Grand Prize.

Following the Closing Date, the Administrator will screen Apps for eligibility and may request additional information from any Contestant in order to evaluate eligibility. Eligible Apps will be evaluated by a group of Evaluators selected by the Sponsor and Administrator during Demo Day. Evaluators will assess each App based on the Evaluation Criteria, and Evaluators will select a group of Finalists. If more than 50 Apps are submitted by the Closing Date, Sponsor reserves the right to limit the number of Apps proceeding to evaluation during Demo Day (“Semi-finalists”) at 50.

All Finalists will be invited to present to Judges selected by the Sponsor prior to an Awards Ceremony. Finalists will be required to demo their App and address questions from the Judges. Judges may select Grand Prize winners following presentations, and any winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony.

Sponsors reserve the right to substitute or modify the list of Evaluators or Judges at any time for any reason. Judges have the right to withdraw without advance notice. Judges will be fair and impartial. A judge may elect to recuse himself or herself from judging an App, if in the judge’s sole discretion it is not appropriate for him or her to judge that particular App because of a past or current relationship with that particular Contestant or for any other reason. A Contestant will not be at a disadvantage if any judge recuses himself or herself.

Decisions made by the Sponsor, Administrator, Judges, and Evaluators are binding and final on all matters relating to this Competition, and are not subject to appeal or dispute.



8. Verification of Potential Winners

All Applicants must comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules.  Any Contestant that is awarded and elects to accept any cash prize must also comply with any requirements imposed by Sponsor or Administrator in connection with the award of cash prizes. In the event that a Winner is disqualified for any reason, Sponsor or Administrator may award the applicable prize to an alternate Winner who was evaluated highest of the remaining eligible entries.



9. Post-Competition Support

All winners will have access to post-competition support resources for a minimum of two months following the Competition’s end. Resources will include the following:

  • Access to complimentary meeting and convening space and mentorship at Civic Hall.
  • At least one workshop led by industry experts to help each individual or team launch or grow their ventures (topics to be published in November 2015).
  • Access to additional resources that may include pro bono legal advice, complimentary technology education and workshops, complimentary website services, and more.


10. Ownership of Information

  • Contestants will own the intellectual property rights to their Submission, but the City, Sponsor and Administrator will maintain a royalty-free license to, without limitation: a) post the Submissions on BigApps.NYC; b) make the Submissions available for the course of the Competition and 12 months after the conclusion of the Competition; and c) use the Submissions for noncommercial purposes for a period of 12 months after the conclusion of the Competition Submission Period.
  • In addition, Contestants that choose to accept prizes or other ongoing support provided by a Challenge Partner are bound by the terms publicly posted on the relevant Challenge Partner Page. Grand Prize winners may elect to transfer all intellectual property rights, without limitation, to a willing and interested nonprofit organization, community benefit organization (CBO), corporation, or other qualified individual or team, if approved by Sponsor, Administrator, and Challenge Partner, and if the winner and the designated recipient of rights mutually commit to the exchange of responsibility in writing.



11. Other Things to Know

Entry Conditions and Release

By entering, Contestants agree to the following conditions and release:

(1) Each Contestant agrees to comply with and be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor, Administrator, Judges and/or Evaluators which are binding and final in all matters relating to this Competition.

(2) Each Contestant also agrees to release and hold harmless the Sponsor, Administrator, and their respective parent, subsidiary, and affiliated companies, the prize suppliers and any other organizations responsible for sponsoring, fulfilling, administering, advertising or promoting the Competition, and all of their respective past and present officers, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability. These claims, expenses, and liability include, but are not limited to, negligence and damages of any kind to persons and property, including but not limited to invasion of privacy (under appropriation, intrusion, public disclosure of private facts, false light in the public eye or other legal theory), defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, infringement of trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, property damage, or death or personal injury arising out of or relating to a Contestant’s entry, creation of an entry or submission of an entry, participation in the Competition, acceptance or use or misuse of prize (including any travel or activity related thereto) and/or the broadcast, transmission, performance, exploitation or use of entry.

(3) Each Contestant also agrees to indemnify, defend and hold harmless the Sponsor and Administrator from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) arising out of or relating to a Contestant’s participation in the Competition and/or Contestant’s acceptance, use or misuse of prize.


Except where prohibited, participation in the Competition constitutes Contestant’s consent to Sponsor’s, Administrator’s and their agents’ use of winner’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, hometown and state, and App screenshots, videos, descriptions and commentary for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.

General Conditions

Sponsor and/or Administrator reserve the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Competition, or any part of it, if any fraud, technical failures or any other factor beyond Sponsor’s and/or Administrator’s reasonable control impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Competition, as determined by Sponsor and/or Administrator in their sole discretion. Sponsor and/or Administrator reserves the right in their sole discretion to disqualify any individual or Competitor it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Competition or to be acting in violation of these Official Rules or any other promotion or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner.

Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Competition may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsor and/or Administrator reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor’s and/or Administrator’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.

Limitations of Liability

The Released Parties are not responsible for: (1) any incorrect or inaccurate information, whether caused by entrants, printing errors or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the Competition; (2) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (3) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Competition; (4) technical or human error which may occur in the administration of the Competition or the processing of entries; or (5) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Competition or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.

Any attempt by any person to deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Competition may be a violation of criminal and civil law, and, should such an attempt be made, Sponsors and/or Administrator reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law. Sponsor’s and/or Administrator’s failure to enforce any term of these Official Rules shall not constitute a waiver of that provision.


Any disputes and/or decisions arising under this Competition that relates to the award of cash prizes shall be resolved by NYCEDC and such determination shall be final, binding and conclusive.  With respect to any disputes and/or decisions between the applicant and NYCEDC, the Administrator, Judges and/or Evaluators herein, the applicant expressly waives and relinquishes any and all rights it might otherwise have to contest any such disputes and/or decisions.


Sponsors collect personal information from Contestants when Contestants enter the Competition. By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions, Contestants authorize Sponsor and/or Administrator to share personal information with Competition partners, including, but not limited to, Sponsors and Challenge Partners.

Competition Results

Results of the competition will be made available on BigApps.NYC.

Sponsors and Administrator

Sponsor: New York City Economic Development Corporation, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038

Administrator: HR&A Advisors, Inc., 99 Hudson Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10013.

Additional Terms

Sponsors and/or Administrator reserve the right to modify the Official Rules, Terms & Conditions, and/or Competition format at any time.  It is anticipated that any such modifications will be posted to the Competition website and that it will be the responsibility of the Applicants to check the website for any such changes.