SYRACUSE — Five companies are now working toward making their final pitch in October for big prize money in the fifth year of the state’s Genius NY program.
Empire State Development (ESD) on Aug. 17 announced the five teams selected to take part in round five of the business-accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in Syracuse.
Genius NY stands for Growing ENtrepreneurs & Innovators in UpState New York. The competition is described as the “largest” business-accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world. UAS is short for unmanned aircraft systems.
The finalists are Circle Optics of Rochester; Airtonomy of Grand Forks, North Dakota; Airial Robotics of Hamburg, Germany; CarScanner of Krakow, Poland; and WindShape of Geneva, Switzerland.
The program chose the finalists from among 13 semifinalists that were announced at the end of June.
Supported by the CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative and administered by CenterState CEO at the Tech Garden, these startup, unmanned-systems industry companies will participate in a yearlong program.
The five finalists include teams with international and New York state representation and were selected from a pool of more than 600 submissions. They will compete for $3 million in direct investment, with one grand prize of up to $1 million and four $500,000 awards.
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 [aircraft] systems by attracting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs,” Kevin Younis, COO and executive deputy commissioner of Empire State Development, said. “New York’s ongoing UAS investment will ensure that continued industry leadership, bringing top quality jobs and growth to the region and beyond.”
“We look forward to welcoming these teams from around the world to our community so we can support their growth and integrate them into the thriving ecosystem we have developed for the unmanned systems industry,” Kara Jones, director of Genius NY, added. “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. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the growth of the teams from previous rounds of the competition and I know this new cohort will join them to further establish the Tech Garden as the leading place to grow your UAS company.”
A UAS includes a drone and equipment used to control its flight. A drone is also referred to in the industry as an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.
This month, those five companies will move into the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse and begin to work on their business cases, which they will present at the pitch event, which is set for Oct. 21 at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.
Throughout the program, teams will communicate with community leaders, mentors, and advisers from leading companies in Central New York while also participating in tourism activities. The goal is to encourage all participants to put down roots and stay in the region following the conclusion of the program.
About the finalists
Airial Robotics of Hamburg, Germany develops commercial UAVs for surveillance, logistics, and agriculture modeled after gyrocopter/helicopter hybrid that are challenging industry performance limits for safety, payload, range, and speed.
Airtonomy of Grand Forks, North Dakota has a push-button software that automates uniform collection, packaging-and analysis of data acquired by autonomous vehicles and sensors, specifically targeting critical energy infrastructure.
CarScanner of Krakow, Poland develops a used-car inspection robot that autonomously navigates around a car and automatically detects scratches, dents, repainted body surfaces, and other damages with structured light, thermography, and machine-learning algorithms.
Circle Optics of Rochester 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. Paired to a UAS, this technology can enable immersive telepresence, better autonomy, and a platform to run edge applications such as self-localization, object recognition/tracking, and volumetric data capture.
WindShape of Geneva, Switzerland develops indoor weather-simulation technology to test and certify drones under “controllable and repeatable” flight conditions to enable “autonomous and scalable” drone applications.