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Last month the new GENIUS NY companies had the opportunity to tour and speak with some of CNY’s top founders. Teams visited Jeff Rubin at Sidearm Sports, Jeff Knauss at Digital Hyve, Devin Daly at Spincar and Raymond Moore at TCG Player. These companies reflect the startup growth Syracuse has been seeing over the past few years and is proof that founders can build a successful startup in Syracuse instead of a popular tech hub like the Silicon Valley. The founders talked about success in the area with top talent coming from Syracuse University, Cornell and Clarkson, investment with now two local VC firms, as well as community resources and support.
Our tour wouldn’t be complete without meeting with Jeff Knauss, founder of Digital Hyve where we learned how him and Jacob Tanner grew their business in Downtown Syracuse to a second location in Rochester NY. We're very lucky to have these two entrepreneurial ambassadors in our city.
Did you know the two co-founders met at a Tech Garden networking event?
A Q&A with Jörg Schamuhn, CEO at Airial Robotics
Company HQ: Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany R&D and Production in Hungary, Air Fleet Training in London, Development office in Spain
Team Size: 27
Focus: A tech orientated aviation company
Tell us about your company?
We have developed an aircraft that is safer and performs better than existing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) by merging a helicopter with a gyrocopter. What this does is allow the aircraft to act like a helicopter at low speeds, when it goes to gyrocopter mode, the aircraft flies like a fixed wing airplane so it can move fast and it can go for long distance. Our main rotor diameter is 2.6 meters (8.5ft). The version that is ready to go to market now has a maximum takeoff weight of 2kg (4.4lbs).
What are your drones used for?
We are addressing very specifically 3 use cases:
Who is your ideal customer?
Our ideal customers are private companies, government agencies such as police, firefighters, military, medical. Ideally our customer is someone flying drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) long distance over highly populated areas.
Where did the idea for your Startup come from?
Our CTO is an aviation nerd. He was involved in multi-copters and also fixed wing vertical takeoff and landing. When he analyzed (current drones in the market) what he was asked to do, he realized it was not the safest or the best way to design the drone. He wanted to build the safest drone that can carry the biggest amount of payload. On November 7, 2017 is when he started on the basic development of our technology.
What can we expect from Airial Robotics in the near future?
We plan to develop a truly international global business, with manufacturing in Europe and the United States. We will be able to scale the expansion of logistics services with our transportation drone and make a big impact within the agriculture sector. Currently, our agricultural drone has 25kg (55.1lbs) takeoff weight (the first of its kind). We are planning on building a 100 – 200kg (220.4 - 440.9lbs) drone. A 200kg (440.9lbs) drone can carry more than 100kg (220.4lbs) of liquid so we can spray large areas very efficiently.
It’s our goal to grow this company to 150 employees by 2024 and expand our product range to a drone from 4kg (8.8lbs) takeoff weight which is agile and can be used for police and response forces all the way up to 600kg (1,322.7lbs) which will be a two seated air taxi.
Why are you excited about GENIUS NY?
When we see what’s happening here, we have never seen anything like it in the world. The infrastructure, the people behind it all, the amount of support that is given to us, the effort to make us feel good and successful is just an amazing experience.
With GENIUS NY on our side, we feel we are getting accelerated and we feel with this infrastructure and people together, we can make this successful. And it’s motivating. Our whole team in Europe waits every week on my report in anticipation of what’s new and what we are doing.
What are you most looking forward to while staying in Syracuse?
We want to understand what makes this area special. We’ve never been to Central NY. It’s an exciting cultural site we want to explore. Long term, we would like to become members of the community and build friendships and partnerships.
What will you do with the $1 Million grand prize?
Very simple, invest it into staff. Invest it into development projects and generate a solid U.S. business. A business that is sustainable, growing and also giving back to the community that has invested into us.
GENIUS NY Finals Night will include all five finalists pitching for the grand prize of $1M. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!