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More than 350 applicants for GENIUS NY. 12 semi-finalists to be announced this fall.

GENIUS NY, a business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden announced the application period for round three is closed. The program attracted more than 350 applications for this round, the largest number and most competitive in the competition’s history. Round three of the GENIUS NY program will run for 12 months. It is the largest business accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world. Earlier this year FotoKite took home the one million dollar prize from Genius.


Of the applications received, more than half came from teams operating outside of New York, and more than a quarter from outside the continental United States. Applications from entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses focused on unmanned systems, IoT and data-to-decision platforms will now be evaluated by a panel of judges. Twelve semi-finalists will be selected to present demos and pitches later this fall. Five finalist companies will be selected to participate in the program and will receive an investment of nearly $3 million, including a grand prize valued at $1 million, and four investments totaling $500,000.

“The highly-competitive pool of applications we received this round is the result of the growth and success companies from the program’s first two rounds have experienced in such a short time,” said Jonathan Parry, director of GENIUS NY. “We feel we can uniquely offer startup companies in the unmanned systems sector the right combination of investments, wraparound support services, and a region with the leading-edge research and development. The teams which will be selected to participate in round three will benefit from the experience and success of the 12 teams we have supported through rounds one and two. We look forward to working with round three’s finalists.”

Round three of the GENIUS NY program will run for 12 months. It is the largest business accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world. The advancement of the GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy. The UAS industry accelerator program is administered by CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden in Downtown Syracuse.
Beyond investments, GENIUS NY participants have access to some of the region’s premier startup programming, including business planning, industry-specific mentorship, and access to vetted service providers offering startup friendly terms. As part of this effort, participants will be integrated into the larger regional effort to grow unmanned aerial systems in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley and will have access to world-leading infrastructure and testing assets when they come online. Participants also receive incubator space and stipends, as well as access to investors towards the end of the year for follow-on-investment.

Recently Governor Cuomo announced $10 million in additional funding to support two new rounds of the innovative GENIUS NY business accelerator extending the program through 2021.

In early December GENIUS NY will announce the five finalists participating in the competition starting January 2019.


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Avatar for Haye Kesteloo Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at DroneDJ, where he covers all drone related news and writes product reviews. He also contributes to the other sites in the 9to5Mac group such as; 9to5Mac, 9to5Google, 9to5Toys and Electrek. Haye can be reached at or @hayekesteloo