New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (an actual Mayor) made a surprise appearance at TechCrunch Disrupt today to pitch the benefits to tech start-ups to operate here.
Much of it was just that: a pitch (albeit an eloquent one). But in doing so, he revealed a new economic development initiative in the form of a $19 million venture fund with First Mark Capital. The fund’s first $300,000 in play went to the winner of a start-up competition called NYC BigApps.
Out of 100 submissions to create the best app from a mashup of NYC public data, the winner was MyCityWay. Little was revealed about when and where it will be available, but Bloomberg characterized it as a place to get all things NYC. This includes everything from subway schedules to restaurant reviews to dog parks to art galleries (other cities available too).
“We liked what they did so much that we not only made them the BigApps winner, but we invested in them,” said Bloomberg. “This allowed them to move into New York from New Jersey and add employees.”
There are many mobile local apps and a handful that mash up different verticals such as Where, Poynt, etc. (it resembles Aloqa in some ways). But it’s yet another sign of the investment, attention and usage growth we’re seeing in location-based apps.
A mobile panel this morning included Google, Foursquare and Facebook made similar points. Post to come shortly and expanded info on the new MyCityWay app to come as well.