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Largest Business Competition for Unmanned Systems

Growing Entrepreneurs In Upstate New York (GENIUS NY) is a global business accelerator program of CenterState CEO located at The Tech Garden (Central New York’s premier business incubator). It is the world’s biggest business accelerator contest for unmanned solutions.

This program gives UAS startups every single tool they require for success including advisors, resources, connections, stipends, and programming. The competition is empowered by funding support of $5 million offered by a New York State chief economic advancement agency called Empire State Development.

Not only do the GENIUS NY participants have the opportunity to work together with advisers, mentors, and technology peers in the industry, but prospects for the accelerator in the unmanned systems technologies and statistics to conclusion will be higher here compared to any other place on the globe.

Program Details

Annually for the last 3 years, they have rewarded innovative companies from all over the world with a massive amount of money in funding to their UAS-based or drone businesses.

The program starts in January 2019 in downtown Syracuse, New York at The Tech Garden incubator and will go on for 1 year. The 52,000 sq ft facilities have workspaces where startup businesses learn, grow, work, and collaborate.

Applications are limited to business classes that line up with the local investment in autonomous systems. Start your application to GENIUS NY 3.0 (Round Three) by clicking here. It has to be done by the 1st October 2018. I’d highly encourage any of my readers who have an idea for a drone-based business to sign up!

The focus of the program is on hardware, analytics, unmanned systems, software. Also, GENIUS NY is open to data-decision platforms, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Prize Details

To be eligible for the GENIUS NY’s competition, you need to either be a spin-off coming from a large corporation or a real, entrepreneurial startup.

Teams contend for 1 of 5 prizes. The best team gets awarded with a 1 million investment. 4 more companies are granted $500K for each prize. Previously, the competition awarded 3 grand cash payouts of about $400,000, $600,000, and $1 million and 3 runner-up rewards of $250,000 along with $250,000 made available for incentive funding.

Companies will have to compensate 5 to 8 percent equity to take part in the contest. Participants are needed to run their business in Central New York for 12 months during the competition. Finalists get chosen from a highly competitive submissions pool with applicants entering from around the world.

Over 2 years, GENIUS NY has invested almost six million dollars in 12 top teams, all who have taken advantage of the program.

2018 Finalists

UsPLM – TruWeather – Quantifly – Precision Vision – Fotokite – Dropcopter

2017 Finalists

SkyOp – OmniMesh – EZ3D – AutoModality – Ascent AeroSystems – Akrobotix

Past Winners

Fotokite, the bumper prize champion of one million, recently hired two interns (one from McMaster University located in Ontario, Hamilton and one from Syracuse University) and a senior-level engineer. Fotokite combines ground-based and aerial robotics with aircraft flight control patterns to make a tethered kite-like drone model that can autonomously fly for 24/7.

CEO of Fotokite, Chris McCall, says, “It is a great program by the GENIUS NY team and CenterState’s CEO and total game-changing support to Fotokite. We are thrilled to be extending operations here for supporting our clients moving forward plus will work round the clock to continue expanding on this initial momentum. All other teams in this program were great as well, and we see opportunities to cooperate with them from the next stage of the GENIUS NY competition.”

Winner of $600,000, Quantifly, has added 2 full-time employees and also hired 3 summer interns. They use analytics, computer vision, and aerial imagery to autopilot the analysis, measurement, and observation of cities change.

Winner of $400,000, TruWeather, has added 3 interns to their team. They are building a program to enhance the communication, accuracy, and precision of climate intelligence.

Winner of $250,000, UsPLM, has added 2 interns. UsPLM delivers a collaborative ecosystem to deploy, test, develop, and safely control a fleet or a single unmanned aerial system.

Dropcopter recently received significant media attention for their job as the very first in the country to test quadcopter pollination of apples. This collaboration enables the business to show their capabilities and draw business leads.

GENIUS NY ‘s last year Round 1 champ, Automodality, has launched successfully their Perceptive Navigation application, which turns little drones into pinpoint automatic inspection agents.


All in all, the GENIUS NY program appears to have provided 6 highly promising companies with the resources and funding they require to continue improvising in this field, which ought to be regarded as a victory alone. Best wishes to the participants and winners from our MyDearDrone team.

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