Empire State Development Announces Application Window Open for Round Eight of GENIUS NY Business Accelerator

Empire State Development Announces Application Window Open for Round Eight of GENIUS NY Business Accelerator

The World’s Largest Business Accelerator for Uncrewed Systems is Accepting Applications through May 15

GENIUS NY is Supported 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 eighth 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 business 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, “The GENIUS NY accelerator is fueling New York State’s thriving uncrewed aerial systems industry. This renowned program is attracting forward-thinking innovators from around the world to Central New York and ensuring that their pioneering ideas take flight thanks to the area’s unmatched UAS assets and infrastructure.”

Applications are being accepted at through May 15, 2024, from tech startups focused on uncrewed aerial systems, automation, A.I. and advanced air mobility (AAM). 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’re looking for startups interested in pushing the bounds of current UAS technologies in Central New York.” said Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY. “The region’s growing innovation ecosystem offers early-stage companies a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with industry leaders while advancing their own technologies. The targeted resources awarded to GENIUS NY companies enable them to scale faster, generate revenue sooner, and create jobs for the local economy.”

Applications are evaluated by a panel of judges, and semi-finalists will be selected to present demos and pitches this summer. 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-person accelerator at CenterState CEO’s 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 2024.

To date, the program has attracted more than 37 startups to Central New York since its inception in 2017. To date, nearly $21 million has been invested in the innovative teams, which have gone on to raise more than $100 million in venture capital.

Round seven winner, blueflite received the top prize of $1 million in October 2023. The company has since seen significant growth, hired local staff in Syracuse and partnered with past GENIUS NY team AVSS to integrate parachute recovery systems in their drones.

Read the full press release here.

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