2023 GENIUS NY winners

Governor Hochul Announces $1 Million Grand Prize Winner of GENIUS NY, the World’s Largest Accelerator for Uncrewed Aerial Systems

Blueflite Wins GENIUS NY $1 Million Grand Prize; Four Other Finalists Receive $500,000 Investments as Part of $3 Million Awarded to Innovative Companies that Will Now Operate in Syracuse

Investment Complements "CNY Rising" – The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Photo of Grand Prize Winner Available Here

Governor Kathy Hochul announced Blueflite as the $1 million grand prize winner of round seven of the GENIUS NY accelerator. Founded in 2018, the company offers a drone-based logistics platform. It’s patented, unique, and all-electrical drone design has vertical take-off and landing capabilities, advanced maneuverability, and is built to meet the rigorous demands of commercial operations. The GENIUS NY program is the world’s largest business accelerator program focused on uncrewed aerial systems, robotics and IoT. The year-long program, which is administered by CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in Syracuse, awarded five finalist teams a total of $3 million at Pitch Finals at its Innovation Night event in downtown Syracuse, including the $1 million grand prize and four $500,000 investments. The accelerator also offers incubator space, company resources, programming and mentoring to finalists. Participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year. To date, New York State has made $21 million in direct investment in 37 GENIUS NY teams over the program’s seven rounds.

“From Micron to supporting innovative entrepreneurs, my administration remains committed to making key investments that are helping to boost and revitalize Central New York,” Governor Hochul said. “As a result, the GENIUS NY competition continues to attract innovative entrepreneurs from around the world who are laser-focused on expanding the ever-evolving aerial system industry in the region, ensuring that New York State remains at the forefront of this vital field, bringing quality jobs and economic growth to the region.”

The five finalist teams pitched their businesses to a panel of judges and the audience during the Pitch Finals at Innovation Night. Following the pitches, all five competitors were awarded one of five investments, with Blueflite winning the grand prize.

Blueflite Co-Founders Frank Noppel and James McClearen said, “Blueflite is thrilled to have won the prestigious GENIUS NY $1M prize, organized by CenterState CEO. We see this as a remarkable achievement and testament to our capabilities, and we are enthusiastic to begin an exciting journey strengthening our presence in the State of New York. The support from GENIUS NY has been invaluable, and we look forward to drive innovation and excellence in the drone industry, benefiting not only our company but also the communities we serve.”

The other four teams received a prize of $500,000: Aloft, GreenJets, Voltela, and VOTIX, which was also named as fan favorite at tonight’s event.

Since 2017, GENIUS NY companies have raised more than $100 million in follow-on funding and have created more than 80 new jobs in New York State. The advancement of the GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s award-winning strategic plan to revitalize communities and grow the economy.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight, said, "The GENIUS NY program is fueling the incredible growth of the uncrewed aerial systems industry in Central New York. Congratulations to all of these forward-thinking innovators who are bringing their exceptional entrepreneurial ideas to the region and are ready to take advantage of New York State's unmatched UAS assets and infrastructure."

Read the full press release here.