Frequently Asked Questions

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  • 1. Can I submit more than one idea?

    Yes! You may submit multiple ideas and you are allowed to be on more than one team. However, if more than one of your concepts advances to Stage 2, you will have to choose only one to submit. (Which is a good problem to have!)

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  • 2. I know how to code. Is there any point in my entering the contest?

    Absolutely! The NYU Mobile App Contest is designed to help you turn your app into a viable venture.

    If you win, you can elect to receive $10,000 in cash to use toward launching your app instead of having your app developed and designed for free by the Messapps team.

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  • 3. I don’t know how to code and don’t have a technical cofounder. Can I still compete?

    Absolutely! No coding experience is required. Nada! Zippo! All you need is a great idea. Throughout the process, technical assistance will be provided by the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs and Messapps. The grand prize is your app fully developed for free by the design firm, Messapps.

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  • 4. Does my app have to be new?

    Apps that are already publicly available for download are not eligible.

    We’re looking for original ideas or clever approaches to meeting a market need that’s demonstrably better than existing alternatives.

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  • 5. What kind of apps can be submitted?

    All types of apps are welcome except those that require a significant amount of animation (i.e. most mobile games).

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  • 6. Am I eligible to compete?

    To be eligible to compete you must be:

    • A current NYU student
    • A full-time NYU faculty member or researcher
    • A Stern alum

    If you do not fall into one of the three categories above, you must have someone on your team who does. This person must be part of the team’s leadership and will own at least 30% of the venture. (See Contest Terms and Conditions for additional details.)

    Apps that are already in an app store or otherwise publicly available for download are not eligible.

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  • 1. What prizes are awarded?

    The winner will be able to claim one of the following grand prizes:

    (a) Their app fully developed by Messapps, which equates to approximately $75,000 in design and development services; or

    (b) $10,000 in cash[1].

    [1] In order to opt for the $10,000 cash prize, teams must prove they possess the technical capacity to complete the development of the app.

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  • 2. How do I enter?

    To enter, visit and submit your idea via the online portal by February 28, 11:59 p.m.

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  • 3. How is the contest structured?

    Stage 1 | The Concept - entry deadline, 2/28
    Description of your concept including the market need, target customers, value proposition, existing competition, and revenue model.

    Semi-finalists announced - 3/12

    Stage 2 | Wireframes + Clickable Prototypes - submission deadline, 4/1

    Finalists announced - 4/4

    Stage 3 | Final Presentations - 5/4

    Winners announced - 5/4

    For the complete contest timeline, visit

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  • 4. What key dates and deadlines should I be aware of?

    You can find a full list of key dates and deadlines on the Contest’s website here.

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  • 5. Who are the contest organizers?

    The NYU Mobile App Contest is presented by the NYU Stern W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs in partnership with the design firm, Messapps.

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  • 6. How will submissions be evaluated? What’s the judging criteria?

    Submissions will be evaluated by a group of expert judges including NYU faculty, professional app developers, and successful entrepreneurs.

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  • 1. What kind of assistance is provided through the contest?

    A bunch!

    The W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs’ startup experts will help you formulate a business model, devise a marketing strategy, and determine a revenue model. We also offer help desks related to branding, legal issues, and even financials. To see the extensive startup services offered by the Labs, visit here.

    You will also receive technical assistance developing wireframes, creating app designs, and building a landing page through workshops and 1:1 coaching sessions conducted by Messapps.

    One more thing: connect with fellow founders, startup experts, and entrepreneurs on the NYU Startup Hub. There you’ll find helpful resources, be able to get answers to your startup questions, and share information.

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  • 1. What does the winner get?

    The grand prize winner will get their app fully developed by Messapps or can opt for a $10,000 cash prize to support operational and marketing efforts for their winning app--as long as the team can prove their technical capacity to complete the development of the app.

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  • 2. Will I own the work developed by Messapps?

    Yes. You will own 100% of the work completed on behalf of your app by Messapps.

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  • 3. What if I decide to take the cash instead of developing the app?

    The goal of the contest is to facilitate the creation and launch of innovative app-based ventures. To receive the cash award, the winning team must provide a plan for executing on their idea. Please note that cash awards are only payable to legal business entities and cannot be paid to an individual.

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  • 1. What’s all this talk about People’s Choice Voting?

    People’s Choice Voting is a way of providing contest teams greater exposure to potential customers, investors, or stakeholders. It also gives members of the entire NYU community and beyond a chance to pick which they think is the coolest app idea. Don’t worry! For the People’s Choice Voting, your “secret sauce” will not be revealed; only a high-level description of your idea.

    All teams that enter the Mobile App Contest are automatically entered into the People’s Choice Voting, which starts on March 13.

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  • 2. Do I have to participate in the People’s Choice Voting?

    No. You can opt out.

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  • 1. I’m afraid someone will steal my idea. Will you sign a non-disclosure agreement?

    Neither the W. R. Berkley Innovation Labs, Messapps, nor any of our judges, coaches or advisors will sign a nondisclosure agreement. As the organizers, we are here to help and can assure discretion.

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  • 2. Is there anything else I need to know?

    Yep. Visit for full contest details. Also, be sure to read carefully the Contest Terms and Conditions for additional requirements.

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  • 3. Help! I still have questions.

    No worries! Contact Tyler Becker at for assistance.

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