Empire State Development (ESD), New York State’s economic development public-benefit organization, has announced the five finalists that have been selected to take part in the fourth round of GENIUS NY, a business accelerator program administered at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden. The five companies have all developed solutions for the drone, robotics or Internet of Things (IoT) industries, and are competing for a total of $3 million in direct investment, including a grand prize of $1 million and four $500,000 awards.
The year-long program is the largest business accelerator competition in the world for the UAS (unmanned aerial systems) industry, and provides engagement with community leaders, mentors, and advisors from leading companies in Central New York. The teams will start the program by further developing their business plans, and on the Finals Night, will present their ideas to a judging panel and to an audience of more than 300 people.
Startups that have participated in previous rounds of GENIUS NY, including AutoModality, Civdrone, Fotokite, OmniMesh and TruWeather Solutions, have raised more than $10 million in additional private investment and continue to experience significant growth, showing the impact that the GENIUS NY program has made on regional UAS and robotics technologies and startups.
The five companies that have been selected as finalists for the GENIUS NY program are:
BotsAndUs (United Kingdom): uses a fleet of fully autonomous robots to automate customer service and operations tasks across the retail, hospitality and travel sectors, working with employees to serve more customers as well as capture real time data. The company has developed a full stack solution of hardware, software, support and data manipulation.
DroneSeed (Seattle, Washington): a drone swarm solution that plants trees at a rate that is six times more efficient than manual labor planting, aiming to make reforestation scalable and to make a dent in carbon emissions. The process decreases the response time to reforest, and increases the total acres of reforestation that can be done per year by simplifying the supply chain.
Eget Liber (Syracuse, New York): uses an autonomous, semi-submersible remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to mitigate the life-cycle of cyanobacterium, also known as blue-green algae, in freshwater lakes. The ROV is designed to receive command coordinates from an aerial drone, which is configured to identify algae blooms via spectral analysis.
Geopipe (New York, New York): creates instant, immersive virtual copies of real cities for gaming, simulation and architecture. Their machine learning algorithms generate 3D maps and models, reproducing and labelling every tree, building, road and window. The outputs are then licensed monthly, annually or via revenue sharing.
Skyy Network (Australia): Skyy Network’s Flight Information Management System uses an open source blockchain-based data exchange network that allows UAS service suppliers and air navigation service providers to share and verify safety critical airspace data to allow drones to operate beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).
Eric Gertler, Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate, commented: “We are excited to welcome these innovative entrepreneurs to Central New York for Round Four of GENIUS NY. This unique competition supports UAS startups and IoT companies developing the next-generation technologies that will accelerate Central New York’s growing drone industry and ensure the region continues to rise.”
Rick Clonan, vice president of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO, said: “This year we received a record number of applications for the program, all of which were exceptionally competitive which speaks to the awareness and impact this program is having on the industry’s ecosystem. This year’s finalists will have the benefit of accelerating with the support and resources we have developed and refined over three rounds to ensure their ultimate success and rapid growth. The teams will join the innovation ecosystem we have created at The Tech Garden, and will benefit from the mentoring, partnerships and engagement of the programs previous participants.”
Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO, added: “With each round of this program we have seen an impressive return on the resources and investments as these teams are able to rapidly grow their companies and attract follow-on funding. We look forward to welcoming these new companies into the program so they too can benefit from the ecosystem we have created. Over the next year, they will have access to unparalleled resources, have the opportunity to test their technologies in the country’s first beyond visual line of sight corridor, and engage with a broad range of companies that are already leading the UAS industry. Furthermore, many of the technologies they are developing have real world implications and through new partnerships they can support and advance regional programs and projects.”