December 12, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Six Finalists Selected to Take Part in Genius NY II Competition in Central New York

Governor Cuomo Announces Six Finalists Selected to Take Part in Genius NY II Competition in Central New York

Unique Program Continues to Attract Companies from Around the Globe to Central New York

GENIUS NY II Continues the Progress of CNY Rising - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the six finalists selected to take part in the second round of GENIUS NY - one of the world's largest business competitions focused on unmanned systems, cross-connected platforms and other technology-based sectors. The business accelerator supports entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses focused on unmanned systems, hardware, software and analytics. The program will invest nearly $3 million in six finalist companies, including three grand prizes valued at up to $1 million, $600,000 and $400,000. The program, which is administered by the Tech Garden and CenterState CEO in Syracuse, also offers company stipends, housing, resources, programming and networking opportunities. Participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year.

"The GENIUS NY competition continues to transform the economic landscape of Central New York by enticing the next generation of entrepreneurs in this exciting 21st century sector to come and lay down roots in the region," Governor Cuomo said. "By investing in these unmanned aerial system businesses, we can ensure New York remains a leader in the burgeoning UAS industry, which is at the heart of the CNY Rising plan. I congratulate the second round finalists."

"Governor Cuomo is committed to investing in the future of New York as a leader in the tech and innovation economy," said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. "Today, as we announce the finalists selected to take part in the second round of the GENIUS NY business accelerator competition, we position six more companies to expand and invest in the local economy. This is one of the world's largest business competitions focused on unmanned systems and the technology sector, and it's happening right here in Central NY."

Of the six finalists chosen to take part in GENIUS NY Round II, one team is international, one was co-founded by a woman, and one team is from Central New York.

The six finalists selected include:

  • Dropcopter (California) is an agriculture technology startup that has developed patent pending technology to allow farmers to pollinate orchards via drones. The recent decline of bee populations has raised pollination prices significantly, creating a compelling market for alternative technologies such as Dropcopter.
  • Fotokite (Switzerland) combines aerial and ground-based robotics with patented flight control algorithms to create a kite-like tethered drone system, which actively uses the tether to fly for 24-hours fully autonomously.
  • Precision Vision (New Mexico) creates image processing technology that makes real-time precision imaging an affordable reality. Precision imaging locates each pixel at a known 2D or 3D, referenced location in every image. The company has unique software and knowledge to provide low-cost, real-time precision imaging to open new markets.
  • Quantifly (Michigan) is an IoT solution that simplifies and reduces the costs of parking and traffic studies through the unification of UAS, machine vision, and analytics by eliminating human error, mitigating safety risks, and centralizing harvested data. They are the first to market, and their solution aims to be the quintessential app for urban planners focused on smart city applications and sustainability.
  • TruWeather (Virgina) is building a service to improve the precision, accuracy and communication of weather intelligence specifically for the UAV enterprise. They will develop, commercialize and market the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Weather Risk Management Service for Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLOS) UAV operations and offer it as a SaaS business.
  • UsPLM (Syracuse) provides a collaborative environment for all stakeholders to develop, test, deploy, and safely operate a single or a fleet of UAS. UsPLM can integrate UAS, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) technologies, which is missing in the current UAS ecosystem.

In March, the inaugural round of GENIUS NY awarded six finalists a total of $2.75 million, including the top prize of $1 million, which was awarded to AutoModality, a team out of California dedicated to creating autonomous mobile systems that sense, explore, and analyze the world around us. The company is currently focused on inspection of agriculture and infrastructure assets.

A final pitch event was held today for the round one teams. The Innovation Celebration event held at the CNY Biotech Accelerator in Syracuse brought together upstate investors, community leaders and program partners. When the first round ends later this month, four of the six teams will remain in Syracuse to continue operations and growth.

Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO and Co-Chair of the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council said, "To date this program has achieved two important goals; provide the necessary resources for high-potential startups in the UAS sector to grow in Central New York and want to stay, and advance the region's profile as an industry leader. We know we have the ability to attract and drive new company growth in this sector and look forward to replicating this success in the program's second round."

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, President, SUNY Upstate Medical University said, "The GENIUS NY accelerator offers unparalleled support for entrepreneurs who are leading the way in the growing unmanned aerial systems industry. The program has attracted high-quality firms that will no doubt drive new industry innovations and support our regional economy as laid out in the locally designed CNY Rising plan."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The GENIUS NY competition is paving the way to help to ensure that forward-thinking UAS companies stay in Central New York, create jobs, and establish the region as a global hub for emerging technologies."

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's commitment to the region, Onondaga County is continuing to establish its position in the world economy as a focal point for the UAS industry. As with the first round of GENIUS NY, we look forward to supporting these talented group of finalists with the resources they need for long-term success in Central New York."

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. said, "GENIUS NY has served as a catalyst for growth at Oneida County's UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport by fostering new business innovation in the Central New York UAS Corridor. I'm sure this year's round of finalists will continue in that tradition, and provide a huge benefit to not only the county and our partners at CenterState CEO, but all of New York State, as we work together to move the industry forward."

CenterState Vice President of Innovation & Entrepreneurship CEO Rick Clonan said, "We will take the lessons we learned from the first round of this program and apply them to this second round of the program to enhance the opportunity and support we can offer these companies. I am really proud of the success of each of the first round teams and will continue to help connect them to the tools they need to grow while at the same time begin the process with the second round. As we do this we will create an even more robust ecosystem of targeted support for these companies."

Major General Marke Gibson, CEO of the NUAIR Alliance said, "This program serves as an important component of our work to advance the research development and support of companies looking to grow in the UAS sector in this region. We look forward to working with the six new teams and providing them access to some of the world's most leading-edge testing facilities for UAS systems. Likewise, we will continue to support the growth of the round one companies and help them achieve the next level of success here in the region."

The GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative, which calls for major investments in the Unmanned Aircraft Systems industry in Central New York. In November of 2016, Governor Cuomo announced $30 million in URI funds would be invested to develop a 50-mile flight traffic management system between Syracuse and Griffiss International Airport in Rome to advance the burgeoning Unmanned Aircraft Systems industry in Central New York. Within the 50-mile corridor, strategic investments will accelerate industry growth by supporting emerging uses of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in key Central New York industries, including agriculture and forest management, transportation and logistics, media and film development, utilities and infrastructure, and public safety. This significant URI investment followed a $5 million commitment for Phase I and continues the State's strong commitment to growing the UAS industry in Central and Upstate New York.

To learn more about GENIUS NY visit

About Central NY Rising

Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. This initiative is focused on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. The state has already invested nearly $3 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan which includes investing in the burgeoning unmanned aerial systems industry. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in as a result.

The $500 million "Central NY Rising" Upstate Revitalization Initiative announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015 is incentivizing private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.


Traduction française
Tradiksyon kreyòl ayisyen
Перевод на русский язык
Traducción al español

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640