NYC’s 2017 BigApps Competition Announces Winners

Four apps were announced as winners Tuesday, May 23 at New York City’s 2017 BigApps Competition: DollarVan, OnBoard, nesterly and PASSNYC: Opportunity Explorer, all of which fit into one of the three designated categories of knowledge, transportation and community resiliency.

Grand prize winners from the three categories will receive $15,000 cash, admission to the Civic Accelerator program, pro bono legal services from BakerHostetler, and discounted workshops from General Assembly. The Judges Award winner won the opportunity to pilot its app on LinkNYC tablets, located throughout the five boroughs.

BigApps is a large and comprehensive civic innovation competition, one filled with workshops, mentorship pairings, and opportunities for collaboration. With a history that dates back eight years, BigApps is older than most other startup collaboration efforts, having first evolved from an incentivized campaign to enhance open data and aspirations to diversify New York’s economy. In recent years, improving government efficiency and the lives of all New Yorkers has become BigApps’ primary concern.

This year’s competition broke the civic challenges it sought to address into the three categories of transportation, access to knowledge, and community resiliency. Participants were also asked to give special attention to assisting youth, immigrants and seniors. Kate Daly, senior vice president of initiatives at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, said before the competition started that specifying these goals was the result of lessons learned throughout BigApps’ history.

“Narrowing the focus has been very successful because it allows people to come together in a much more targeted way,” Daly told Government Technology in March.

The award ceremony marked the culmination of four months and seven workshops, wherein hundreds of participants formed teams, met with mentors, interviewed potential users of their tech, and began testing their ideas. This year’s BigApps garnered 150 eligible submissions, and two rounds of judging preceded the announcement of nine finalists.

The winners were:

  • DollarVan (Judges Award Winner), a multilingual app that seeks to increase awareness of affordable and semi-formal van routes in New York, won the judge’s choice award.
  • OnBoard (Grand Prize Winner), a passenger check-in system for New York City’s paratransit network Access-A-Ride that creates an independent database of pickups, aiming to empower transit advocates working to assess and improve service schedules while also ensuring a safer, more reliable ride.
  • nesterly (Grand Prize Winner), an app that facilitates households with older residents who want to exchange spare space to younger people willing to help around the house for lower rent.
  • PASSNYC: Opportunity Explorer (Grand Prize Winner), an interactive smart catalog and universal application for more than 200 extracurricular opportunities available to students in NYC.

“NYC BigApps is about New Yorkers helping New Yorkers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement. “Every year, we ask our tech and creative talent to help solve pressing challenges. They step up and consistently exceed our expectations with innovative ideas for New York.”

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