NYC Big Apps Version 2.0

Last year NYC ran a mobile and web app developer contest called NYC Big Apps. I posted about it and was one of a number of judges. The city and the participating developers thought it was a successful effort and so NYC Big Apps is back for a second time.

Software developers will compete for $20,000 in cash prizes. The details are here. The application deadline is a month away on January 26th.

I'm hoping to see more mobile apps and especially more android apps. I'd also love to see mobile developers build apps that combine public data from the datamine and commercial APIs like those from our portfolio companies Foursquare,, and Twilio (and many others in and out of our portfolio like this one from Hunch).

In the past year, we've seen a lot happen in mobile apps and the open government movement. It will be interesting to see how all of these developments impact the apps that are submitted for judging next month. I'll post about this again once I see all the apps.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Great initiative. Every city should have this type of innovation encouraged that way.

    1. Mike

      Completely agree. It would be great to see these types of competitions taking place outside of the major investment areas.

  2. Alexandre Winter

    Great initiative indeed, I look forward to seeing the results!It could be great to see an app win that uses a NYC based API provider! There’s Foursquare of course, but there also Sense Networks (really cool location toolbox API), and LTU tech (Paris + NYC based, image recognition, really powerful and popular – disclaimer: this is my company!).LTU offers free plans –…, and I’ve heard Sense too, but I’m not sure…Go NYC!

    1. fredwilson

      and xtify, a geolocation api

  3. Graham Siener

    I’d encourage everyone to also check out Heroku’s new contest to use IndexTank: are giving away a $300/month account with IndexTank to make something cool w/ big data. Kill two birds with one stone this holiday!

  4. kidmercury

    where’s the prize money come from? tax dollars?

    1. fredwilson

      or bloomberg’s pocket change

      1. kidmercury

        are you sure about that? the bigapps web site says is the sponsor, and they seem to be taxpayer funded to a certain’d also be nice if it was more clear where the money is coming from.

        1. Brandon Kessler

          This is about government doing more with less. Opening up data to the public so they can collectively use it to improve New York and increase private sector activity, rather than government hiring one contractor who says they’re going to do something and then doesn’t. That’s how they achieved the 200x ROI.

          1. kidmercury

            they can open up the data. not sure why they should use tax dollars to subsidize application development via a contest; that seems like private sector’s job to me. especially when there are bigger problems, like a huge budget deficit and rising MTA costs. those problems affect the entire city.

          2. Brandon Kessler

            I know you have strong political views here. FYI the MTA is a state authority, but stay tuned about their data initiative in 2011.

          3. ShanaC

            Thank you someone. You can now only get pdfs of LIRR schedules. They have a ridiculous website….

          4. fredwilson


    2. Andrew Greene

      do you reject government funding?

      1. kidmercury

        given that 9/11 was an inside job, the city is running a $900 million deficit, and MTA fares are rising, i’m not in favor of tax dollars being used to create mobile apps that benefit investors and technology corporations. the bubble in startupland is because of all the capital that was created and directed to the finance community, which in turn has devalued the currency and driven up cost of commodities and energy, thus constituting a transfer of wealth from poor to the finance class. now they want more handouts? lol.

        1. LIAD

          impressive how you’ve only been back 3 days and have already found a way to work your 9/11 shtick into the conversation. – Nuts but I respect conviction.

          1. kidmercury

            you know me, i’m always up for talking about 9/11….but how about you? you can engage in name-calling and dismiss it as nuts or you can defend your position. unless you’re scared…..

          2. LIAD

            good try dude. but you’re not getting me to go there.

          3. kidmercury

            of course not, because you’re afraid. don’t worry, at least you fit in. and after all, conformity is always a smart move.

          4. LIAD

            George Bernard Shaw once said “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

          5. kidmercury

            you can call me a pig, and you can call me nuts. that much we know. but can you stand for the truth? always easier to attack another’s beliefs (which in my case are supported by a rigorous body of facts) than stand up for what you believe in. but i have faith in you, like i have faith in all of humanity.

          6. LIAD

            dude, i didn’t call you a pig or nuts. the only thing i said about YOU was that i respected your conviction. read the convo back, you’ll make lots of impactful points, but, for me, your incessant dropping in of 9/11 detracts from them and softens their effectiveness.take your last comment to brandon, you succinctly explain your point, which i agree with, and just seem to have the need to throw in 9/11 for good measure even though it has nothing to do with that’s being discussed.just my 2 cents.i won’t get involved again.

          7. kidmercury

            lol, yes, you didn’t call me a pig or nuts, but it certainly was implied. that’s okay, it adds to the conversation.i incessantly drop 9/11 because the world at large incessantly ignores it. when the world stops ignoring, the conspiracy theorists will calm down and stop acting like raving lunatics. if it is a battle between the ignorance of the masses versus the passion of the awakened, though, i promise you the passion of the awakened will burn far brighter.

          8. Dave Pinsen

            Liad has a point there, Kid. You do make some solid points — e.g., questioning the use of public money (if that is indeed what it is) to essentially subsidize a talent search that VCs stand to benefit from and could easily finance themselves. But then you throw in your 9/11 conspiracy stuff, plus your eccentric ideas about virtual currencies, and then the area in the Venn diagram where there’s agreement between others and your package deal of opinions starts to approach zero.You’re a smart guy though, so I’m sure you know that. I think you just crave argument too much to stand agreement. It’s as if you’re afraid that too many people here might agree with you on something, so you throw in a couple of deal breakers just in case.

          9. kidmercury

            you guys need to study jungian psychology. when the crowd suppresses something, it doesn’t simply go away. it emerges in another form, often more potent than the effort put into suppressing guys stop suppressing/ignoring 9/11 truth, and i promise you myself and all the other kooks will act a lot more normal. we won’t feel the need to bombard the world with our message. but the more you ignore us, the stronger our voice becomes, out of necessity.of course, as we know, most people will sacrifice everything before acknowledging 9/11 truth. they already have.virtual currencies i am a lot less lunatic about, as you may have noticed. that is simply my idea for the solution because i think if you are going to talk about problems all day you should also talk about solutions, perhaps even more so. i agree that is more subjective and more a function of entrepreneurial vision (which may or may not be accurate) than objective truth. 9/11 truth is the truth, and hence it is treated accordingly.

          10. ShanaC

            One of my neighbors escaped the buildings as it was coming down. She got carried out, and she distinctly remembers the planes going into the buildings. It’s really hard to believe you when she was a typical person in the building that day. If it weren’t for that….

          11. kidmercury

            was she in building 7? meaning the building that planes didn’t hit? i must have commented on this issue literally a hundred times here in fredland, but here is a 9 second video. let us know if you think a plane caused this building to fall.…building 7 is the smoking gun, but there is a ton of evidence. literally enough evidence to prosecute cheney, and probably some others.

          12. ShanaC

            The towers. If I asked around where I grew up, I’m sure I can find someone who was in Building 7 and disagrees with you (I live in a commuter neighborhood)

          13. kidmercury

            you can probably also find a person who thinks the moon is made out of cheese. sadly, one person’s testimony does not constitute evidence. the qualifications of that person, as well as scientific evidence, should also be considered.of course you can also just use common sense. using your common sense, ask yourself if a plane is what caused building 7 to fall. forget about what other people think and what the media is trying to brainwash you to believe. just follow your common sense. the truth is obvious, even more so when you look at the evidence.

          14. fredwilson

            No suppression of truthing here at AVCI’m proud of that

          15. RichardF

            Maybe Kid has one of Julian Assange’s decryption keys and has taken a quick peep inside “the motherload”

        2. Andrew Greene

          you have lots of big ideas. please try to solve a tiny part of one of them.don’t worry about 20k.

          1. kidmercury

            no, i only have one idea — virtual currency as tool to rebuild moentary policy. i simply see how it solves everything. except fear of the truth, that is. people have to solve that one on their own.

    3. kidmercury

      the contest is being sponsored by which based on my cursory research seems to be an organization that is funded in part by taxpayer dollars. at least that is the impression i got based on reading their web site and the financial statement:… . please correct me if i’m wrong.meanwhile, back in reality, MTA fares are rising AGAIN. december 30.…new york city is running a 900 million dollar budget deficit.really unfortunate to see this type of wasteful use of tax dollars. there’s even an investor’s choice award, lol. i hope next time you will use your own money to finance your recruiting/scouting costs rather than tax dollars.

      1. LIAD

        lots of govt funded schemes benefit the public sector. education being just one of them. why has this one got your goat?

        1. kidmercury

          public education doesn’t benefit anyone.www.deliberatedumbingdown.comwww.johntaylorgatto.comthis one has “got my goat” because its government spending that fred talked about. fred is the blog star, he sets the discussion for the day. if he talked about war spending i’d go off on that. that actually is my favorite topic to go off on, as it allows for the most direct comments about 9/11 to be made. today i had to settle for nyc big apps.

          1. ShanaC

            Well, it made a significant part of the population literate at the least. Nothing to sneeze at, considering the method you are using to convince us of your position is writing. Though I agree the curriculum is a mess and doesn’t challenge the everyday person.And I missed you kid.

          2. kidmercury

            you are assuming no other method would have originated to help people become literate. i.e. private schools, homeschoolingi missed you as well. it feels good to be finding ways to inject 9/11 truth into every comment again.

          3. ShanaC

            no, I just think both of those methods are more inefficient to get large amounts of people to read. Not everyone can afford private school, and not everyone has the time to homeschool. And have a mass of illiterates running this country sounds like a bad idea to me. I’m in favor or public education

          4. kidmercury

            why can’t everyone afford private schools? everyone can’t afford them in a world that is not conducive towards private education business models.also, public schools are not free. americans pay more than 50% of their wages in taxes. when you look at why this country is uneducated and poor, state indoctrination systems (aka public education) plays a big part.

    4. Brandon Kessler

      Last year there was a 200x return on investment. Over $5 million in software created in exchange for $20K in prizes. One of the winners was a team of 6 who quit their jobs on Wall Street, are in dozens of cities, received millions in VC investment (at a multi-million dollar valuation), are profitable, and recently rang the closing bell on NASDAQ.

      1. kidmercury

        there’s also been a ridiculous return on investing in google. which is fantastic — i’m glad those who took teh risk of investing in google back in the day are reaping the profits for helping build a company that has made enormous strides in making the world better.i don’t support tax dollars being used to invest in google, though. and i don’t support tax dollars being used to subsidize VC recruitment costs. maybe in a better world, where 9/11 wasn’t an inside job and income inequality was not a massive problem coming dangerously close to tear apart the social contract of society, i would be in favor of such an approach. till that better world emerges, i’d be more interested in seeing tax dollars used to reduce income inequality, not increase it, and to see reduced spending overall until the deficit problem is solved.if nyc VCs want to throw an apps contest, go for it — no one is stopping them. might even be a good way for them to collectively work together to reduce scouting costs and make a valuable contribution to advance society, like all the cool corporations do. not sure why tax dollars should be involved in this situation.

        1. ShanaC

          OK, what do you think the government should spend money on?

          1. kidmercury

            being the referee. jails, courts. roads, mass transit. possibly broadband, but not THIS government. future governments will probably pay for broadband. in fact, future governments may originate as broadband providers!i’m not really a fan of govt handouts, but if government wants to give anyone a hand out, it should be poor people. too many handouts for the upper class as is. this is the cause of the extreme income inequality we currently have.

          2. ShanaC

            I have to ask -why broadband?

          3. kidmercury

            for the people who argue landline ISPs are a natural monopoly. i don’t really agree, but sure, i can see the argument. a properly run local government could probably do a great job at managing it. at least until they get corrupted.

      2. Vi

        I hadn’t heard of that. Would you mind sharing the name of that company?Thanks.

        1. Brandon Kessler

          That one is called NYC Way. Check out all the 2009 apps and winners here:

  5. markjosephson

    <blatant plug=””>Would love to see folks use the API — we’ve recently added lots of great functionality to it. Get news and info about anything, anywhere at any time. Check it out here:

    1. ShanaC

      I don’t work for, but I really would like to see something too. Now that it’s been brought up.I like being informed about my world.

      1. markjosephson

        Thanks Shana! We really have been trying hard to continue adding features to the API, so if you haven’t checked it out in a while, it is well worth it. Thanks again!

    2. fredwilson

      Great suggestion markI will add that to my post

  6. ShanaC

    I’m looking forward to seeing the craziest idea!