Syracuse, N.Y. — Five startups in the unmanned systems industry have been chosen from among more than 600 applicants to compete for $3 million in investments in the state-funded Genius NY business accelerator program.
Empire State Development, the state’s economic development arm, announced the selection Tuesday of a Rochester business and four companies from around the world as finalists in the competition (descriptions provided by ESD):
Airial Robotics (Hamburg, Germany): Airial Robotics develops commercial unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance, logistics and agriculture modeled after gyrocopter/helicopter hybrid that are challenging industry performance limits for safety, payload, range and speed.
Airtonomy (Grand Forks, North Dakota): Airtonomy’s push-button software automates uniform collection, packaging and analysis of data acquired by autonomous vehicles and sensors, specifically targeting critical energy infrastructure.
CarScanner (Krakow, Poland): CarScanner develops a used-car inspection robot that autonomously moves around a car and automatically detects scratches, dents, repainted body surfaces, and other damages with structured light, thermography and machine-learning algorithms.
Circle Optics (Rochester, New York): Circle Optics develops high-resolution, wide field-of-view imaging systems that enable real-time capture without the time and expense of post-processing required by other multicamera systems.
WindShape (Geneva, Switzerland): WindShape develops indoor weather simulation technology to test and certify drones under controllable and repeatable flight conditions to enable autonomous and scalable drone applications.
This is the fifth round of the Genius NY program, which is funded by the state and administered by CenterState CEO at the Tech Garden business center in downtown Syracuse. The five finalists will compete for $3 million in direct investments, with one grand prize of up to $1 million and four $500,000 awards.
The competition is the largest business accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world, according to state officials. Genius NY participants are required to commit to operating their business in Central New York for at least one year.
“The Genius NY competition has helped to establish Central New York as a hub for unmanned aerial systems by attracting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs,” said Kevin Younis, Empire State Development chief operating officer and executive deputy commissioner. “New York’s ongoing UAS investment will ensure that continued industry leadership, bringing top quality jobs and growth to the region and beyond.
The five companies will move into the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse this month and begin to refine their business plans, which they will present to a team of judges at a finals event on Oct. 21, 2021 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.
“Over the next year, they will receive targeted business development resources and mentoring that, coupled with the state’s high-value investment, will ensure their success,” said Kara Jones, director of the program.
Since 2017, Genius NY has invested $12 million in 22 companies and brought them to Central New York to participate in the yearlong in-residence accelerator, where they receive assistance with product development, business development, and networking opportunities with investors and business leaders.