$25K Innovation Contest Challenges App Developers in $2B Family History Industry


Salt Lake City, Utah, January 9, 2014: RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference, is nearing its application deadline for the Innovator Challenge (, a first of its kind global competition to encourage developers to create apps and technology-based experiences that will shape the future of the growing family history industry. The contest will culminate with a hybrid Shark Tank, America’s Got Talent-like live event where judges and thousands of viewers will decide the winners. The challenge is open for submissions now through January 15, 2015, and will award $25,000 in total cash prizes among four finalists. Interested developers should register for the contest online at

The 2015 RootsTech Innovator Challenge will be significantly enhanced over previous years, making it the world’s largest competition in the family history industry. This year, RootsTech is upping the ante with a “Shark Tank” meets “America’s Got Talent” live event in front of thousands on February 13, 2015. A panel of five genealogy, technology, and business gurus, will judge four finalists from around the world in a “showdown” at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. And new this year will be a People’s Choice award, where audience votes will determine who gets the grand prize. With $25,000 up for grabs, and based on past RootsTech media traction, this event will attract significant mainstream and industry social media attention as Utah’s largest technology competition.

In Utah, family history has gone from its roots as a genealogical hobby in the late 1800s to big business – to the tune of $2+ billion in 2014. Over the next 5 years, the industry is expected to grow to north of $4 billion. Utah employs nearly 2,000 individuals in the family history space through large for-profit and non-profit ventures as well was small and emerging businesses and solo developers. Amy Rees Anderson of the IPOP Foundation says that any market described with the word “billion” is a market well worth pursuing. And what better way to pursue this industry than with an app potentially worth $25,000.

This year’s platinum sponsor for the Innovator Challenge is MyHeritage, the most popular family network on the web. “Supporting this competition is just one way MyHeritage is fostering innovation and creativity that will benefit families past, present, and future,” said Gilad Japhet, CEO of MyHeritage. Additional sponsors support the challenge by underwriting the prize money and providing in-kind services. These additional sponsors are Grow Utah, IPOP Foundation, Sprint, Software Technology Group and Utah Technology Council.

For more information about the challenge, visit #InnovatorChallenge


About RootsTech

RootsTech is the world’s largest family history event, where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. The first annual conference was held in 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, the conference includes hands-on demonstrations and forums to provide a highly interactive environment and accelerate learning.

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