Syracuse – GENIUS NY, a business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden, announced 19 teams as semi-finalists in the competition’s fourth round. The companies, which are developing innovations in the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), internet of things (IoT) and big data industries, were selected from a highly-competitive pool of more than 400 submissions. Of the 19 semi-finalists, five are international teams representing Israel, United Kingdom, Australia, Portugal and Switzerland. Additionally, four teams are from Central New York.
The semi-finalists are:
Aren - New York City, NY
Acoustic Wells - Boston, MA
Atolla Tech, LLC – New York City, NY
BloomOptix – Syracuse, NY
BotsAndUs – Bucks, United Kingdom
Buffalo Automation – Buffalo, NY
Cognito Networks, Inc. – Saratoga, CA
Cortland Research – Homer, NY
DroneSeed – Seattle, WA
Eget Liber – Skaneateles, NY
Emerging Technology Ventures Inc. – Alamogordo, NM
EVA – Lisbon, Portugal
GeoPipe – New York City, NY
INVOLI – Vaud, Switzerland
L7 Defense - Mevasheret Zion, Israel
NextGen Imaging Technologies – Windham, NH
SafeFlight Corporation - Incline Village, NV
Scanifly – New York City, NY
Skyy Network - New South Wales, Australia
“We are excited to have attracted a record number of applications from forward-thinking entrepreneurs for the fourth round of the GENIUS NY competition,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler. “Five of these companies will move on to the next round and a chance to take part in this unique business accelerator, which supports UAS startups in developing innovative next-generation technologies that will continue to build the region’s growing drone industry.”
The 19 teams now have two weeks to complete a video presentation on why their company would be the best fit for GENIUS NY. A panel of local judges will review the presentations and select the five finalists participating in GENIUS NY in 2020. Judges are looking for companies that: will stay in the CNY region and utilize the ecosystem; will scale and be successful; represent diversity of technology focus and team makeup.
“The teams we have selected represent the very best of an incredibly competitive application pool,” said Rick Clonan, vice president of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO. “These high-quality teams will benefit from the success of the program’s first three cohorts and will have the necessary resources to accelerate, grow and contribute to the region’s leading expertise and advancement of the UAS industry.”
The GENIUS NY program, funded by Empire State Development, will invest more than $3 million in the five finalist companies over the course of the yearlong competition – making it the largest business accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world. The advancement of the GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s award-winning strategic plan to generate robust economic growth and community development. To date the program has invested more than $9 million in 17 companies.
The grand prizes will be announced at Finals Night in April, where teams will compete live by pitching their technologies to a panel of judges. The grand prize investment of $1 million will be awarded while the remaining four teams each will receive a $500,000 investment.
Beyond the grand prize investments, participants benefit from access to some of the region's premier startup programming, including business planning, industry specific mentorship, and access to vetted service providers offering startup friendly terms. Participants are also integrated into the larger regional effort to grow unmanned aerial systems in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, and will have access to world-leading infrastructure and testing assets. Participants also receive stipends for operating capital and subsidized rent, and will also have opportunities to connect with investors for follow on funding.
GENIUS NY also announced it has hired Jeff Fuchsberg as director of GENIUS NY. In his new role, Fuchsberg will manage the programming and support for companies in the GENIUS NY program. Fuchsberg recently served as senior director of Innovation Projects at the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation in El Paso, Texas. Fuchsberg holds a bachelor’s degree in entomology, magna cum laude with distinction in research, from Cornell University, and a Juris doctorate from Syracuse University College of Law, summa cum laude, with an advanced certificate in technology commercialization law from the New York State Science & Technology Law Center. He is also certified as a business incubator manager by the International Business Innovation Association.