GENIUS NY Round 1 Company Is Acquired

Posted on April 23, 2024

Ascent Aerosystems UAS

Robinson Helicopter Company Acquires Ascent AeroSystems,

World’s Largest Business Accelerator, Now Accepting Applications for Cohort 8


SYRACUSE, NY – This week, Robinson Helicopter Company, a global leader in civilian rotorcraft, has acquired Ascent AeroSystems. Ascent participated in the first cohort of the GENIUS NY program and was awarded $600,000 for placing second during the 2017 event finals. This acquisition marks an important milestone in Ascent’s growth trajectory. The acquisition of Ascent by Robinson Helicopter Company is the first of its kind for the program. It is an important signal of the impact the GENIUS NY’s program has on startups within the uncrewed systems industry ecosystem. 

Ascent AeroSystems designs and manufactures rugged “coaxial” drones for the industrial, public safety and defense markets.  With a unique cylindrical configuration that’s far more portable and durable than conventional multirotors, our drones are ideal for mission-critical operations in the toughest environments. 

“CenterState’s GENIUS NY accelerator program was vital to Ascent AeroSystems, providing early capital and vital support at a pivotal time in the company’s earliest phases” said Peter Fuchs, CEO of Ascent AeroSystems. “We simply would not be here today without it.  Today, nearly eight years later, the growing GENIUS NY community continues to provide a network of like-minded founders with many complementary technologies, and we always look for an opportunity to partner with fellow alumni.  The program is an outstanding model of what economic development and early-stage business incubation can be, and we would wholeheartedly encourage others to apply.”

Robinson Helicopter Company is a global leader in civilian rotorcraft. Ascent’s expertise in autonomous electric flight technology and modular design philosophy will enhance Robinson's offerings and will support the company's ability to meet increasing global demand for enhanced mission capabilities in law enforcement, public safety, firefighting, utility, and defense.

“The sky is the limit for GENIUS NY alum Ascent AeroSystems," said Hope Knight, President, CEO and Commissioner of Empire State Development. “The company’s milestone further spotlights how the state-supported competition, focused on strategic investments in emerging companies, ensures New York’s global leadership in uncrewed aerial systems. This is one of the many success stories that will take Central New York's UAS industry to even greater heights in the years ahead."

GENIUS NY is the world’s largest business accelerator focused on uncrewed systems and funded by Empire State Development (ESD) and administered by CenterState CEO. It has awarded $21 million to 37 startups to Central New York since its inception in 2017. To date, teams have gone on to raise more than $100 million in follow-on funding and create hundreds of new jobs in New York state.

“Ascent was part of the founding cohort of companies in the GENIUS NY program and seeing it achieve such an important milestone so quickly is really rewarding. Its acquisition will enable the company to continue to advance its technology and drive significant impact for the UAS industry,” said Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY. “While this success is the company’s own, I am proud that GENIUS NY was able to play a role in its early-stage growth. The program’s targeted support and resources are critical foundations of an ecosystem that participating companies can draw on and contribute to.”

GENIUS NY is now accepting applications for the eighth cohort of the year-long program at through May 15, 2024 from tech startups focused on uncrewed systems, automation and advanced air mobility. Subsets may include precision and remote sensing, smart city applications, data collection and analytics, guidance or communication systems, and sensors, among other technological categories. The in-residence accelerator operated by CenterState CEO in downtown Syracuse will invest more than $3 million in five finalist companies, including a $1 million grand prize.

To learn more about GENIUS NY visit,, or contact Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY, at or by calling 315-470-1959.

GENIUS NY is also attending AUVSI Exponential 2024. Meet current and past program participants and program staff at the New York Pavilion, booth 3637.


About CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is Central New York's premier business leadership and economic development organization, committed to creating a region where business thrives, and all people prosper. Its vision is to be recognized as a visionary leader, effective advocate, exceptional employer and a force for positive outcomes for our community.



GENIUS NY is an in-residence business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden in Central New York that goes beyond substantial direct investment. In addition to $3 million in total investment for five teams, the program also offers incubator space, company stipends, resources, programming, and connections, making it among the largest competitions of its kind across the globe. The program is made possible by $5 million in funding support provided by Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency.

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