Empire State Development Announces Application Window Open for Round Six of GENIUS NY Competition

Posted on March 29, 2022

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Genius Ny 2022 Website

The World’s Largest Business Accelerator for Uncrewed Systems is Accepting Applications through May 31; Innovative Competition Has Also Been Extended for Five Additional Rounds 

GENIUS NY is Supported by “CNY Rising” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that GENIUS NY – the world’s largest business accelerator focused on uncrewed systems – is now accepting applications for the sixth round of the year-long program. The in-residence accelerator, operated out of CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, will invest more than $3 million in five finalist companies, including a $1 million grand prize. The program also offers company stipends, resources, programming and networking opportunities to assist innovative startups with the tools they need to take advantage of emerging opportunities. GENIUS NY participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year. The program is funded through the CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), the region’s award-winning strategic plan to generate robust economic growth and community development.

Empire State Development Acting President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “GENIUS NY’s sixth round will help to further fuel Central New York’s thriving uncrewed aerial systems industry. This unique business accelerator competition is attracting forward-thinking entrepreneurial ideas and innovators to the region, as well as top companies that are ready to take advantage of the area's unmatched UAS assets and infrastructure."

Applications are being accepted at www.geniusny.com through May 31, 2022 from tech startups focused in uncrewed systems, IoT, big data, and robotics. Subsets may include precision and remote sensing, smart city applications, data collection and analytics, guidance or communication systems, and sensors, among other technological categories.

“We are excited to open this new round of applications and begin our search for the next cohort of companies that will join our region’s growing UAS and UTM ecosystem,” said Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY. “GENIUS NY provides support these companies need to grow and contribute to the region’s expertise and diversity. Through five rounds of this accelerator program, we have seen impact and advancement of this sector within our economy, which is a proven jobs creator. We are extremely grateful to Empire State Development for renewing the program through round 10, which is a validation of the program's success to date.”

Applications are evaluated by a panel of judges, and semi-finalists will be selected to present demos and pitches this summer. Five companies will advance to participate in the competition, which is structured as a unique programmed incubator and accelerator experience. The selected teams will enter the in-residence accelerator at The Tech Garden later this summer where they will be immersed in the incubator's events, resource pool, and mentoring. Applicants should be prepared to relocate to Central New York to participate in the program starting in August.

“For more than a decade we have created a robust tech ecosystem that provides startup companies the tools and resources they need to scale and grow in the region,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “The GENIUS NY program is evidence of this success, and we are grateful to Empire State Development for their continued support and validation of the program. Each new team that we attract to the region through GENIUS NY contributes to region’s growing tech sector and supports the advancement of the UAS and UTM industries here.”

Additionally, the GENIUS NY competition has been renewed through round ten by ESD. The program has attracted more than 26 startups to Central New York since its inception in 2017. To date, the innovative teams have gone on to raise more than $90 million in venture capital and have created more than 60 upstate New York jobs.

Round five winner, Airtonomy received the top prize of $1 million in October 2021. The company has seen significant growth in Central New York and has partnered with several local providers and customers. They continue to hire in Syracuse and work with other local UAS companies like NUAIR and Airial Robotics.

Senator Rachel May said, “Central New York is a great place to live, play, and grow your business. Past Genius NY winners have contributed to our community by working on advancements in critical infrastructure maintenance, new agricultural technology, and more. I’m pleased to see more funding for Genius NY and to continue working on our region’s progress.”

Assemblymember William B. Magnarelli said, “The Genius NY competition continues to help Central New York maintain its status as a hub for innovative companies exploring uncrewed aerial systems and other leading-edge technologies. The partnerships and opportunities created locally during the entrepreneurial stage create a catalyst for growth and industry leadership.”

Assemblyman Al Stirpe said, "The GENIUS NY program has played an integral role in the rapidly expanding unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry here in Central New York and helps create good-paying, local jobs. The latest round of awards through Empire State Development (ESD) promise to draw competitors from around the country from tech startups focused on UAS, the internet of things, robotics and big data. I encourage all companies, but especially upstate ones, to fill out an application and take advantage of this important economic driver.”

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "The next round of the exciting GENIUS NY competition will continue to build on the success we've experienced as people come from across the country and across the globe to Onondaga County & Central New York. This innovative competition provides businesses with the tools and resources they need to ensure their long-term success and we are looking forward to the groundbreaking work that emerges from this latest round."

City of Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, "GENIUS NY has attracted and retained world-class business start-ups in Syracuse to scale and grow cutting edge technologies—creating local jobs, drawing top talent and expanding our high-tech ecosystem. The sixth round of the GENIUS NY competition will again produce exciting, breakthrough innovations and solidify Central New York’s position as a world leader in Uncrewed Aerial Systems technology. I thank Empire State Development for its continued support and look forward to welcoming the next cohort of innovators to Syracuse."

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, president and CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY), and, Le Moyne College President Linda M. LeMura said, "We are incredibly excited to see what the next round of innovative entrepreneurs will bring to the table. Through our continued support for the GENIUS NY competition, we are ensuring that New York state remains at the forefront of the growing UAS industry in Central New York, creating new opportunities and jobs for residents in the region for decades to come."

To apply and learn more about GENIUS NY visit, www.geniusny.com.

To learn more about CenterState CEO, visit: www.centerstateceo.com.

Accelerating CNY Rising 

Today's announcement complements “CNY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. The region is accelerating CNY Rising with a $500 million state investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The state’s $500 million investment is helping incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

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