Empire State Development Announces Application Window Open for Round Seven of Genius NY Competition

February 7, 2023

The World’s Largest Business Accelerator for Uncrewed Systems is Accepting Applications through May 17

GENIUS NY is Suported 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 aerial systems – is now accepting applications for the seventh round of the year-long program. 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. The program also offers company stipends, resources, programming, mentorship, 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 President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “GENIUS NY’s seventh 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 17, 2023 from tech startups focused in uncrewed aerial 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 looking for high-potential teams who want to join our program so they can accelerate the growth of their companies and become engaged in the region’s growing UAS and UTM ecosystem,” said Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY. “GENIUS NY is a unique program in that it provides targeted resources to companies so they can scale faster and generate revenue sooner. Through six rounds of this accelerator program, we have seen impact and advancement of this sector within our economy, which is a proven jobs creator.”

Applications are evaluated by a panel of judges, and semi-finalists will be selected to present demos and pitches this spring. Five companies will advance to participate in the program, 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.

The program has attracted more than 32 startups to Central New York since its inception in 2017. To date, the innovative teams have gone on to raise more than $100 million in venture capital and have created more than 80 upstate New York jobs.

Round six winner, ArchAngel Imaging received the top prize of $1 million in November 2022. The company has seen significant growth in Central New York and has partnered with several local providers and customers. They recently made their first U.S hire and last month partnered with past GENIUS team, Circle Optics to combine their 360-degree imaging with its data science and software.

Senator Rachel May said, “It’s exciting to see the continued success of the GENIUS NY Accelerator. With the beginning of its seventh round, this program is now integral to our burgeoning drone industry. It ensures that more tech businesses will call Central New York home, bringing high-paying jobs to the area. There’s no doubt that welcoming these innovative companies to the GENIUS NY Accelerator will benefit our community in many ways. Congratulations on the program, and I’m looking forward to many more successful years.”

Senator John Mannion said, "I voted to fund the GENIUS NY program so Central New York can continue to be the epicenter of uncrewed aerial systems innovation and collaboration. This is the world's largest business accelerator for UAS and under the guidance of CenterState CEO, entrepreneurs receive in-residence incubator and accelerator experience to grow their companies in New York. With the seventh round now open, GENIUS NY and our UAS sector continue to soar!”

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. I look forward to watching its collaboration, with both the Tech Garden and local companies, bring expertise and new ideas to the forefront of the unmanned aerial systems industry."

Assemblymember Pamela Hunter, “The GENIUS NY Accelerator continues to attract some of the best and the brightest minds in the world to New York to develop tomorrow’s UAS technology. I support this initiative from the Governor and look forward to seeing the next innovation to come from this program.”

Assemblyman Al Stirpe said, “The seventh round of the Genius NY Program continues to leverage previous State investments in the UAS market. With the only non line-of-site test corridor in the nation, the program continues to grow the uncrewed aerial system cluster here in CNY as well as encouraging the growth of a strong entrepreneurial culture”.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, "This accelerator is making a real mark in Central New York. I have no doubt that the seventh round of the GENIUS NY competition will help us to continue to build on that success as these incredible innovators from across across the globe bring their ideas to Onondaga County. This focused competition provides businesses with all of the tools and resources they need to ensure their long-term success here and we are looking forward to seeing the groundbreaking work that emerges from this latest round."

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 strategy 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. 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.

Shari Voorhees-Vincent | [email protected]| (585)399-7055
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