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PR- 104-11
March 31, 2011


Joins BMW to Announce New BigApps Partnership and Launch of $100 Million BMW i Ventures Fund and Incubator in New York City

BigApps 2.0 Grand Prize Winner – Roadify – Helps Users Find Parking Spots and Provides Real-Time Transit Information

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the winners of the NYC BigApps 2.0 Competition, the second annual contest that allows software developers and members of the public to create web and mobile applications using City data. Fourteen winning applications were selected from a pool of 58 submissions. After unveiling the winners, Mayor Bloomberg made a surprise announcement that BMW would double the cash prizes – originally to be $20,000 – to $40,000. BMW also took the occasion to announce that it will launch a small-business incubator space in New York City in addition to its new $100 million venture capital fund, recently launched here. The Mayor was joined at the awards ceremony held at IAC headquarters by Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post, Council Members Gale Brewer, Fernando Cabrera and Daniel Garodnick, Hatch Labs General Manager and Product Director Nina Sodhi, Executive Director Dr. Markus Schramm, and members of the developer teams.

"New York City is home to some of the world’s most innovative and talented software developers, and once again they’re helping us strengthen the connection between New Yorkers and their government,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Last year’s winner – MyCityWay – has attracted numerous investments and has grown its venture, and this year’s slate of applications look just as promising. BMW’s announcement of its support of our BigApps initiative and the launch of its new venture capital fund in New York City are great testaments to our strength in the technology sector and the confidence the private sector has in our future.”

Now in its second year, the NYC BigApps competition is one of the largest open government initiatives of its kind, offering more than 350 sets of New York City official data for the public to download and use to create digital applications. The initiative promotes transparency across City government, increases public access to information, and spurs entrepreneurship and job growth in the technology sector. As part of the competition, more than 40 New York City agencies and commissions released datasets, ranging from public safety data and building complaints to real-time traffic statistics, which the City challenged software developers to use in building new digital applications with prospects for commercialization.

"The BigApps competition illustrates the robust innovation that can take place when City data is opened to public creativity,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith. “By encouraging software developers to use City data to design useful web and mobile applications, the BigApps competition enhances the relationship between City government and enterprising New Yorkers, all while delivering value to the public and keeping New York City on the cutting edge of innovation.”

BMW announced that through its New York City-based venture capital fund, called BMW i Ventures, it will establish an incubator space to further support up-and-coming companies and technology solutions. The fund’s first investment is in MyCityWay, which won three NYC BigApps awards last year, including Popular Choice and Investors’ Choice. Its NYC Way application for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry bundled together 30 New York City datasets into a geo-specific, relevant city guide for the user. Following its win, the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund, a City-established $22 million early-stage investment fund managed by FirstMark Capital, awarded its first investment of $600,000 to MyCityWay to expand its venture.

"BMW is proud to support the NYC BigApps competition,” says Ian Robertson, Board Member of BMW AG for Sales and Marketing. “We established our venture capital company, BMW i Ventures, to have a closer link with groundbreaking mobility solutions, right from the start. We chose to base the company in the Big Apple because this great city offers insights into the mobility solutions our customers require and it gives us access to top talent in creative fields.”

The awards were selected by a panel of judges with the exception of the “Popular Choice Award,” which was decided by online public voting from more than 9,500 people across the globe – up from 4,100 voters last year. The winning applications are:

Best Overall Application: 

  • Grand Prize: Roadify iPhone App – alerts users to the latest subway, bus, or driving conditions by adding real-time updates from commuters on top of official transit data. Roadify was also selected for “Popular Choice” Second Prize.  Team members: Dylan Goelz, Nick Nyhan, Scott Kolber, Dan Robinson, Brian Bush, and Amy Janzen. 


  • Second Prize: Sportaneous – harnesses location-based technology to organize sports games at any time, providing lists of nearby public sports facilities and ways to join games that suit the user’s schedule, location, and skill level. Sportaneous was also selected for “Popular Choice” Grand Prize.  Team members: Aaron Royston and Omar Haroun.


  • Third Prize: Parking Finder ( – takes the hassle out of finding parking in Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn by providing interactive maps of free, metered, and prohibited on-street parking during specified times, as well as entrance locations and calculated price of every off-street parking garage and lot, and the ability to make reservations. Parking Finder was also selected for the “Investor’s Choice” Award.  Team members: Benjamin Sann and Alexander Sann.    


  • Honorable Mentions:, Appetition, CultureNOW: A Guidebook, NextStop, and Weeels. 

Popular Choice Awards:


  • Grand Prize: Sportaneous 


  • Second Prize: Roadify iPhone App 


Student Award for the best application created by a high school, college, or full-time graduate student: – delivers a text message when the user checks into a restaurant that is at risk of being closed for health code violations. was also selected for Honorable Mention, Best Overall Application. Team member: Max Stoller.

Investor’s Choice Award for the application with the highest potential for commercialization: Parking Finder (

Large Organization Recognition Award for organizations with 50 or more employees: NYC Data Web – integrates the data sets into a single web of data for developers. Developed by Revelytix Inc., TCG Inc., and Spry Inc. Team members: Michael Lang, Michelle Atkinson, Greg Milbank, and Joel Natividad.

City Talent Award for employees of the City, NYCEDC, and/or their families: NYCPlanIt – allows the user to create and customize a trip around New York City based on the user’s preferences, time and budget, acting as a personal tour guide. Team members: Jack Xiaosong Xu, Micah Corn, and Judy Wong.

“The NYC BigApps competition advances government transparency through the latest digital technologies,” said Councilmember Fernando Cabrera, Technology Committee chair. “These winning apps demonstrate the breadth and depth of tech entrepreneurship in New York City.”

“When we make data free, we create the conditions for innovative, open government -- which everyday New Yorkers are participating in,” said Councilmember Dan Garodnick.  "These winning apps reveal the potential of the creative economy that the City is wise to develop and nurture.”

“NYC Big Apps 2.0 puts New York City on the frontier of the open government movement,” said Councilmember Gale A. Brewer. “I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for his efforts to wed public information with new digital products. The city's pioneering Big Apps competition promises to transform public access to city data. It will also inspire city agencies to reimagine themselves, embrace real-time access, and provide better governance. Above all, Big Apps 2.0 is good for business. App developers, tech entrepreneurs, and Silicon Alley investors all stand to gain from this initiative. The public they want to serve, and city jobs, won't be far behind.”

“This year’s BigApps competition showcases the brightest minds and talent in New York City’s booming technology sector,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky. “The growth of this sector, led by the talent that competed in BigApps, will lead to new breakthroughs and businesses that will define the City as a capital of innovation in the 21st century.”

“We’re pleased to have once again provided the technical expertise to support the NYC BigApps Competition – which, true to its name, gets bigger every year,” said Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Carole Post.  “By making more City data easily accessible, and inviting anyone to use it in creative ways, we’re connecting the untapped talent of the developer world-at-large to benefit City government and New Yorkers alike.  That’s one ‘mash-up’ that’s a true win-win.”

“I applaud New York City’s vibrant developer community for its efforts and innovation in the Big Apps Competition,” said New York City Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne. “Open data strategy is an important part of our City’s digital roadmap, as it is vital to our economic future and ability to engage collaboratively with citizens.”

“Programs like BigApps continue to build NYC's reputation as a city of innovators and leaders in the development of mobile applications,” said Naveen Selvadurai, Co-founder and Head of Platform at foursquare and judge of this year’s competition. “Making the city’s valuable and previously unused data available is a great way to get aspiring entrepreneurs in NYC thinking about how they can build the next big thing.”

“The availability of timely local content and information through smart mobile devices is transforming how people interact with each other and the world around them.  NYC is accelerating that transformation by fostering innovation, unlocking creativity, and establishing New York as a burgeoning technology and media hub,” said Dinesh Moorjani, CEO of Hatch Labs and SVP of Mobile for IAC.

“We at ChallengePost are so impressed with the software developers and their excellent apps this year, and we’re honored to help New York City government become a platform on top of which the public can innovate, said Brandon Kessler, CEO of ChallengePost.

Software developers accessed the datasets through the customer-friendly NYC DataMine, established for last year’s competition. New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications coordinated with City agencies and commissions to add more than 160 datasets to the 190 compiled for the inaugural competition, with 15 new City agencies, including the Department of Environmental Protection, the School Construction Authority, and the Campaign Finance Board, participating in the DataMine for the first time.

The prize money will be awarded as follows: Best Overall Application, Grand Prize: $10,000, Second Prize: $5,000, Third Prize: $2,000 and Honorable Mention (five awards): $1,000; Investor’s Choice Award: $5,000; Student Award: $5,000; and Popular Choice Award, Grand Prize: $5,000 and Second Prize: $3,000. There is no cash prize for the City Talent Award and Large Organization Recognition Award.

Applications were judged on criteria including creativity and originality of the idea; user experience and design; potential benefit to New York City residents and visitors; and potential commercial value. The judging panel was comprised of: Dawn Barber, Co-founder, New York Tech Meetup; John Borthwick, CEO, Betaworks; Chris Dixon, CEO & Co-founder, Hunch; Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square, and Co-founder, Twitter; Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure; Stuart Ellman, Co-Founder & General Partner, RRE Ventures; Lawrence Lenihan, Founder, CEO and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital; Carole Post, Commissioner, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications; Ian Robertson, Board Member of BMW AG, Sales and Marketing, and Chairman Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.; Danny Schultz, Co-founder & Managing Director, DFJ Gotham Ventures; Naveen Selvadurai, Co-founder, Foursquare; Steven Strauss, Managing Director, NYCEDC; Kara Swisher, Co-Executive Director, All Things Digital; Fred Wilson, Managing Partner, Union Square Ventures.

The City plans to add more open datasets and new formats to the NYC DataMine at throughout the year. Eligible submissions will remain available on the BigApps website at for one year, free of charge. Contestants may develop premium or enhanced versions of the applications for commercial sale.

The NYC BigApps Competition was administered by ChallengePost, a New York City-based start-up company that provides an online network for organizations and individuals to create and offer competitions.


Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent   (212) 788-2958

Julie Wood (NYCEDC)   (212) 312-3523

Nicholas Sbordone (DoITT)   (212) 788-6602


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