AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge Seeks Mobile Apps to Address Region’s Social and Civic Issues

AT&T Partners with Area Universities, Businesses, and Technology Organizations to Challenge Local Developers to Create Smartphone Apps to Serve the Community

March 4, 2015

'AT&T*, in partnership with area universities, businesses and tech organizations, today launched the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge—a two-month “virtual hackathon. ”

ALBANY, N.Y.AT&T*, in partnership with area universities, businesses and tech organizations, today launched the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge—a two-month “virtual hackathon” in which innovative thinkers, designers, artists, developers and entrepreneurs are encouraged to “Solve Local” by building intuitive and novel smartphone apps that address the societal and civic issues in the greater Tech Valley community. Winners will receive cash prizes totaling $18,000.

Local partners include: the University at Albany, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, TechConnex (an affiliate for Center for Economic Growth), Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Saratoga TechOUT, Hudson Valley Tech Meetup, New York BizLab, Beahive, Tech Valley Mobile Developers Network, Accelerate 518 and Hack Upstate. The AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge will encourage innovative thinkers, designers, artists, developers and entrepreneurs to create intuitive and novel mobile apps that address and provide solutions to these pressing issues, connect and engage citizens with their governments and demonstrate how mobile technologies can lead to the next generation of tech jobs and investment.  

 “AT&T's commitment to technology innovation in New York grows out of our company's multi-billion dollar nationwide investment in the mobile communications network of the future,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. “By encouraging students and career technologists in the Tech Valley to explore smartphone software development, we are spotlighting the enormous demand for developers and engineers needed to create the software that will drive our mobile economy.”

The challenge, facilitated by Hack Upstate, was announced in front of more than 200 regional technologists and entrepreneurs, and will run until May 1. Coders, designers, entrepreneurs and technologists can register for the challenge and get more information at

Participants will be eligible for cash prizes totaling $18,000: a grand prize of $10,000, followed by a second place prize of $5,000, $2,000 for third place and two honorable mentions at $500 each. Teams submitting applications must include at least one member who attends one of the region’s institutions of higher education or is a current resident of the 19 counties that make up the Tech Valley, including Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Orange, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Ulster, Warren, and Washington.

Submitted apps will be judged on their potential to impact the Tech Valley, the quality of execution and creativity or novelty. A panel of judges made up of local tech experts, community leaders and elected officials, includes Senator George A. Amedore, Jr. (R-46th Senate District), Assemblymember John T. McDonald III (D-108th Assembly District) and New York State’s Chief Technology Officer, Kishor Bagul.

“I am honored to join AT&T and their partners from throughout the Tech Valley on this program that provides an opportunity to highlight the area’s best and brightest innovators,” said Senator George A. Amedore, Jr.  “As a judge, I am looking forward to seeing what apps the developers come up with that will provide solutions to benefit the entire region.”

“I am pleased to support the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge,” said Assemblymember John T. McDonald III. “Information and mobile technology continues to improve our lives in many ways. We must look for new ways to leverage these technologies to better our community and, most importantly, to better the lives of those who are struggling. I am proud to join with AT&T, elected colleagues, and many other community partners in this effort and I wish all of the competitors the best of luck on developing their mobile apps.”

 New York State Chief Technology Officer Kishor Bagul said, “Innovation does not grow in isolation but thrives in a community where public and private sectors, together with academia, collaborate to share ideas and talent to design solutions.  The AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge is a fantastic event to plant seeds of innovation across our state and foster our growing innovation economy.”

"The students and faculty at the University at Albany are energized by the promise of technology and entrepreneurship in advancing social and civic purposes, and so we are delighted to join our regional partners in launching and promoting the AT&T Tech Valley Civic App Challenge,” said Michael Shimazu, Associate Vice-President for Business Partnerships and Economic Development at UAlbany. “AT&T’s program aligns well with the University’s support of Governor Cuomo’s economic and transparency initiatives including START-UP NY, the newly designated Capital Region Innovation Hot Spot known as Innovate 518, and Open NY."

 “Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is proud to join the Tech Valley region area partners to support the Civic App Challenge with AT&T,” said Jason Kuruzovich, director of the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer.  “As America’s oldest technological research university, it is wonderful to see large companies sponsoring activities that can help facilitate growth in the region’s startup ecosystem. The specific structure of this challenge encourages entries by both student and seasoned technical professionals, and we are hopeful that this effort and events like Startup Tech Valley can facilitate the creation of teams that will explore and tackle important social issues that are significant to communities locally and beyond.”

Interested persons can follow the challenge on Twitter using the hashtag #TechValleyATT.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) helps millions of people and businesses around the globe stay connected through leading wireless, high-speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. We’re helping people mobilize their worlds with state-of-the-art communications, entertainment services and amazing innovations like connected cars and devices for homes, offices and points in between. Our U.S. wireless network offers customers the nation’s strongest LTE signal and the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network. We offer the best global wireless coverage*. We’re improving how our customers stay entertained and informed with AT&T U-verse® TV and High Speed Internet services. And businesses worldwide are serving their customers better with AT&T’s mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.


Written By Julie Tracy
Press Contact Jessica Otitigbe
Back to top