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The winner of the $1 million grand prize from Round Three of the GENIUS NY accelerator is Sentient Blue, a team from Italy. The GENIUS NY program is the world’s largest business accelerator competitions focused on unmanned systems. EagleHawk One, CivDrone, Vermeer and ResilienX each were awarded investments of $500,000. ResilienX was also named the crowd favorite in a live poll taken during the event.
“We at Sentient Blue are honored to have been selected as the winner of GENIUS NY 2019,” said Saif Akanni, CEO and CTO of Sentient Blue. “We would like to thank everyone at GENIUS NY for sharing our vision of revolutionizing the drone industry with our hybrid technology. We are thrilled to be a part of the GENIUS NY ecosystem. This award is a real milestone for Sentient Blue; it will allow us to establish the company in Central New York and accelerate our growth and development.”
The year-long business accelerator, awarded five finalist teams a total of $3 million at its Finals event last night, including prizes and investments of $1 million and four $500,000, awards. The program, which is administered by The Tech Garden and CenterState CEO in Syracuse, also offers incubator space, company resources, programming and mentoring. Participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year. The advancement of the GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s award-winning strategic plan to revitalize communities and grow the economy.
During the event held at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, the five teams pitched their business plans to a panel of judges and to a live audience. Following the pitches, all five competitors were awarded one of five investments. Additionally, the teams will use these investments to continue to accelerate their growth and expand their presence in the region.
The GENIUS NY teams’ business plans and pitches were judged by Colonel Anthony Basile, vice president of operations for the NUAIR Alliance; Somak Chattopadhyay, managing partner at Armory Square Ventures; Jim Fayle, regional director for Empire State Development Corporation; Craig Marcinkowski, vice president of strategy and corporate development at SRC; Noa Simons, executive director for Upstate Capital Association of NY; David Montanaro, president and founder of Strategic Advisory Associates; and Marc Viggiano, former head of Saab’s Traffic Management business and founder of Niteopark.