Six UAS Teams Advance in GENIUS NY Business Accelerator Program

Six unmanned aircraft system (UAS) teams have been announced as finalists for the second round of GENIUS NY, a business accelerator program in central New York.

GENIUS NY is funded by Empire State Development and housed at CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden in Syracuse. The six new finalists will move into The Tech Garden in January to begin competing for $3 million in prizes. The companies, which are developing innovations in drones, were selected from a pool of more than 250 submissions, says CenterState CEO.

Announced at the Innovation Celebration event at the CNY Biotech Accelerator in Syracuse, the six finalists selected for GENIUS NY 2.0 are as follows:

  • Dropcopter (California) is an agriculture technology start-up that has developed patent-pending technology to allow farmers to pollinate orchards via drones. The recent decline of bee populations has raised pollination prices significantly, creating a market for alternative technologies such as Dropcopter.
  • Fotokite (Switzerland) combines aerial and ground-based robotics with patented flight control algorithms to create a kite-like tethered drone system, which can fly for 24 hours fully autonomously.
  • Precision Vision (New Mexico) creates image processing technology for real-time, affordable precision imaging.
  • Quantifly (Michigan) is an Internet of Things solution that simplifies and reduces the costs of parking and traffic studies through UAS, machine vision and analytics by eliminating human error, mitigating safety risks and centralizing harvested data.
  • TruWeather (Virgina) is building a service to improve the precision, accuracy and communication of weather intelligence specifically for UAS. They will develop, commercialize and market a weather risk management service for drone operations taking place beyond the visual line of sight. It will be offered as a Software as a Service business.
  • UsPLM (Syracuse, N.Y.) provides a collaborative environment for stakeholders to develop, test, deploy and safely operate a single or a fleet of UAS. UsPLM can integrate UAS with the Internet of Things and product lifecycle management technologies.

All six teams will pitch their technologies at an event in April to a panel of judges and audience of more than 200 people. The teams will be competing for one of three grand prize investments – $1 million, $600,000 and $400,000. The remaining three runner-up teams will each receive a $250,000 investment.

Throughout the program, teams will engage with community leaders, mentors and advisors from companies in central New York. The goal is to encourage participants to establish roots in the region and continue to grow their business. Participants will also receive stipends for operating capital and subsidized rent and will also have opportunities to connect with investors for follow-on funding.

“This program serves as an important component of our work to advance the research, development and support of companies looking to grow in the UAS sector in this region,” says Major General Marke Gibson, the newly appointed CEO of the NUAIR Alliance, which manages the federal UAS test site based in central New York. “We look forward to working with the six new teams and providing them access to some of the world’s most leading-edge testing facilities for UAS systems. Likewise, we will continue to support the growth of the round one companies and help them achieve the next level of success here in the region.”


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