GENIUS NY is “an in-residence business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in Syracuse, New York.” The oldest and most well-known incubator in Upstate New York, the Tech Garden supplies space and support to over 70 technology members. Funded with $5 million from NYS Empire State Development (ESD) and other sponsors, Genius NY is running a contest to find new drone startups to work with. Winners “will receive funding in the form of a monthly stipend, housing subsidy, office space and amenities, workshops, training, mentoring and opportunities for networking and investment.”
Nearly $4 million in funding “is dedicated for direct prizes, support expenses, including subsidized rent for startups, stipends, speakers, advisers, developers, other entrepreneur-consumed resources.” Participants can receive funding at the end of a 3-month “acceleration period” and draw down over the next 9 months, giving them a full year to get started. But as finding investors is a big part of the program, participants can expect help in getting access to interested investors and sponsors for the future. Recipients are required to give up 6% equity.
Genius NY calls their focus on unmanned systems and “data-to-decision applications” a “no-brainer.”
“New York is making a very strong commitment in growing the UAS industry in the Central New York region and it all starts with the GENIUS NY program,” says Kara Alheim of CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity. “Not only is the business accelerator the largest in the world for unmanned systems with $3 million in investment but the program also offers startups company stipends, housing opportunities, resources, programming, local UAS connections, and involvememt in the local community.”
“The competition has already transformed the business landscape of Central New York by enticing next generation entrepreneurs to establish roots in the Empire State. We received just over 250 applications last year for the competition and expect to double that for GENIUS NY 2.0,” says Alheim. “It’s an exciting time for drones in our region, and local businesses, universities, and the community are enthusiastic for its future here.”
Drone entrepreneurs can apply for the contest until October.