GENIUS NY WRAP: Valuable Connections

Posted on June 25, 2024

GNY 7 teams in front of TTG beam

The five companies that make up GENIUS NY’s Cohort 7 are wrapping up their year in the accelerator. Since 2017, GENIUS NY companies have raised more than $100 million in follow-on funding and have created hundreds of new jobs in New York. 

As they all prepare for their own next steps in the uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) industry, they’re reflecting on the most valuable part of the program. While each team’s experiences varied, they all agreed that connection to the Central New York UAS ecosystem was the greatest resource. 

VOTIX founder and CEO Edwin Sanchez said he could tell people across Central New York wanted to partner and do business together. 

“The advisors, the entire GENIUS NY team and the whole city really let you know that they want you to thrive. They want you to make an impact. And this is so powerful for your morale, for your motivation and to turn your vision into reality.”

For Aloft, connections in Central New York meant finding new additions across their team. 

“GENIUS NY provided a conduit into the upstate New York ecosystem not just for hiring but for sales and marketing,” Aloft CSO and co-founder Joshua Ziering said. “Leveraging those connections was of tremendous value and those introductions and hires have made a marked difference in the Aloft team.”

In addition to the connections they were able to make, many teams noticed how the GENIUS NY program’s reputation raised their own profile. During their year in the accelerator Greenjets was able to secure more investors in the United States and become a recognized industry name. 

“Now when we go to drone shows, everyone knows us as opposed to us trying to introduce ourselves,” Greenjets CEO Anmol Manohar said. 

Both Voltela and blueflite found that the program’s reputation enabled deeper, more innovative connections throughout the UAS ecosystem. Voltela co-founder Advait Kumar noted the exposure through GENIUS NY has helped refine their technology. 

“The exposure has been super helpful for us, especially having direct communication with other companies, understanding their needs and requirements, and how we can better fit into their solution,” Kumar said. 

GENIUS NY grand prize winner blueflite said the boost to their reputation through the program is not to be underestimated.

“It gives you credibility. It provides you with a milestone, coming out first in the program, and it carries its name internationally,” blueflite CEO Frank Noppel said. 

After winning, blueflite made use of its recognition and new connections to form a partnership with ResilienX and NASA to explore technologies that could be applied to blueflite’s product to take it to the next level. They’re also partnering with other GENIUS NY teams to push their technology and the entire drone ecosystem forward.

All five companies and their year of impressive accomplishments will be celebrated during the upcoming Flight Fest at Le Moyne College. Their stories are a testament to the GENIUS NY program’s transformative power of mentorship and strategic support. 

The GENIUS NY program is getting ready to welcome its next cohort in just a few months. Semifinalists for Round 8 have been announced, and five finalists selected by an esteemed team of evaluators will be revealed in the coming weeks. 

This story is part of an ongoing series sharing the accomplishments of the five GENIUS NY Cohort 7 teams during their year in the program.

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