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Empire State Development Announces Winners of IDEA NY Business Accelerator Competition

United Aircraft Technologies Will Receive $200,000 in Seed Funding to Create and Grow an Innovative Commercial Business in the Mohawk Valley Region 

$100,000 Awarded to PreVision Corp. for Second Place

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the winners of the IDEA NY business accelerator competition, held last night at Griffiss Institute in Rome. Six teams from the current Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate Commercialization Academy, a national leader for facilitating the transfer of military technologies into the commercial marketplace, pitched their startup ideas in cyber security, big data, information systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for $300,000 in prize seed funding provided by IDEA NY. The grand prize of $200,000 was awarded to United Aircraft Technologies (UAT), from Albany as the overall winner and $100,000 was awarded to PreVision Corp. from Syracuse as the runner up. The two winning teams will then participate in the yearlong IDEA NY accelerator program, which provides technical assistance to help grow their businesses. The teams will be hosted at the Griffiss Institute and will be required to reside in the Mohawk Valley for at least one year. The four remaining teams were awarded up to $8,000 in "consolation" prize money to reimburse expenses incurred during the incubation process.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "Some of the world’s most pioneering and successful companies began as a conversation over a cup of coffee or in a garage—IDEA NY could be the launching pad for a brilliant idea that creates something great and grows the regional economy." 

Bill Wolf, Griffiss Institute President, said, "The Griffiss Institute is extremely excited to announce the winners of the IDEA NY Business Accelerator Competition. Today's event marks the culmination of the latest cohort of the Commercialization Academy and the start of the second IDEA NY Business Accelerator Program. Thanks to a New York State Grant, the IDEA NY business accelerator program is providing the funds and opportunity that will enable UAT and PreVision Corp to grow their business in the Mohawk Valley in ways that were never before possible. IDEA NY is enabling the Griffiss Institute to accelerate its mission in providing education, technical development and economic opportunities to new startup businesses in the Mohawk Valley."

The Innovation & Development Entrepreneurial Accelerator, known as IDEA NY Mohawk Valley, is a business accelerator competition and 12-month program that incentivizes promising entrepreneurs to create and grow viable commercial businesses in the Mohawk Valley Region. IDEA NY Mohawk Valley will focus on the Cyber Security, Big Data, Information Systems and UAS industries. It also builds on the successful Air Force Research Laboratory Commercialization Academy. This accelerator program was made possible by a $2 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant from New York State which was recommended by the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council (MVREDC). The grant allows the Griffiss Institute to provide seed money to entrepreneurs and businesses over three years, with two cohorts of up to 10 teams per year competing for IDEA NY funding.

The six startups that competed for the grand prize were:

  • AIMLExchange™ – Rome, NY  AIMLExchange™ creates the Digital Future™ by enabling Hi-Tech CEO-CxO Teams Peak Performance.
  • Inferenx Labs Inc. – Buffalo, NY – Inferenx Labs is preventing automotive collisions with wildlife and reducing insurance claims.
  • On the Curb, Inc. – Utica, NY  On the Curb exists to change the world of data.
  • PreVision Corp.  Syracuse, NY  PreVision Corp. are global leaders of real-time aerial 3D imaging technology.
  • Seven Sundays – Syracuse, NY – Seven Sundays is developing systems for the future of hospitality.
  • United Aircraft Technologies – Albany, NY  United Aircraft Technologies is modernizing the way aircraft wire maintenance is done through Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence.

Senator Joseph Griffo said, "The IDEA NY program helps to nurture, develop and foster new and exciting ideas in a variety of tech-related industries in the Mohawk Valley and beyond. I commend all of the teams that took part in the competition and am appreciative of the Griffiss Institute, the Air Force Research Lab in Rome and New York State for supporting entrepreneurs in the state."

Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon said, "I’m thrilled to celebrate the winners of the IDEA NY Business Accelerator Competition: United Aircraft Technologies and PreVision Corp. The pitches made during last night’s competition were innovative and exciting and truly showcased that the Mohawk Valley is the place to grow a business. I’d like to thank Empire State Development for providing these burgeoning entrepreneurs with the necessary funding to kick-start ventures that will thrive here, and I’m so grateful for its investment in these talented young businessmen and businesswomen. I want to congratulate all of the teams who submitted their business models – your ambition makes our communities stronger, helps our local economy grow and paves the way for more entrepreneurs to follow in your footsteps."

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said, "I was happy to welcome the competitors for this year’s IDEA NY Demo Day at the Griffiss Institute in Rome. All of the teams from the Air Force Research Lab’s Commercialization Academy presented excellent ideas what will push forward the boundaries of cyber security, big data, information systems and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. I congratulate the winners and look forward to the impact their visions will have here on the Mohawk Valley over the course of the next year. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council for the Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant that made this possible."

Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said, "The Griffiss Institute hosted another successful cohort of the IDEA NY Business Accelerator program with six teams competing. This unique program is growing new business ideas in the core market areas of cybersecurity, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), data mining and other burgeoning industries central to the Mohawk Valley’s emerging technology-based economy. Not only will these new commercial business ideas germinate through the IDEA NY program but the winning teams will remain in the Mohawk Valley for 12 months, which will hopefully lead to new business tenants in the region. The influence of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) cannot be stressed enough as it allows our region to shine in the commercialization of military intellectual property."

MVREDC Co-Chairs Lawrence T. Gilroy III, President of Gilroy, Kernan & Gilroy, Inc. and Dr. Marion Terenzio, SUNY Cobleskill President said, "The MVREDC recommended IDEA NY funding for the Air Force Research Laboratory Commercialization Academy because it is well positioned to take companies that are fueling innovation in the Mohawk Valley Region and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. We are pleased to welcome these new start-ups to the region and can’t wait to see how they will be a part of the ecosystem that helps continue to move the Mohawk Valley economy forward."

The MVREDC has guided nearly $5 million in investment to Griffiss International Airport, cybertechnology and UAS related projects, leveraging more than $22 million in total investment since 2011. By recommending the award for IDEA NY, which is part of the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, the MVREDC furthers its commitment to support the growth and success of cyber tech and Unmanned Aerial Systems entrepreneurs who work in the region.

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 Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," 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.


Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | (518) 292-5107

ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313