ESDC Lends Funding Support to Central NY Tech Accelerator – TechStartups.com

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Five startups in the GENIUS NY accelerator, AutoModality, Civdrone, Fotokite, OmniMesh and TruWeather Solutions, have raised over $10 million in additional private investment. This follow-on-funding validates the investments the GENIUS NY program has made in unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technologies and startups over the last three years, and proves the program’s ongoing impact in Central New York. GENIUS NY is supported by Central New York Rising which advances the regions’ collective strategy to create ecosystem of resources for companies in the UAs industry.

Founded in 2016, GENIUS NY is focused on Startups specializing in Unmanned Systems; software, hardware, analytics. GENIUS NY is an in-residence business accelerator program at The Tech Garden in Central New York that goes beyond substantial direct investment. The program is made possible by $5 million in funding support provided by Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency.

“It’s exciting to see these early stage companies start to receive follow-on-funding from names like Credit Suisse and ff Venture Capital. Our goal in the accelerator is to get them started with seed investment, help work through their business plans and bring them to the commercial market,” said Jon Parry, director of GENIUS NY. “Our finalists are given all the resources needed to continue to scale after the yearlong accelerator, including three investor demo days for opportunities to raise follow-on funding.”

These investments build on those made to the companies during the GENIUS NY program. Two of the companies, AutoModality and Fotokite received the programs $1 million grand prize investment. Since 2017, GENIUS NY has invested in 17 startups and awarded over $9 million. All of the companies invested in by GENIUS NY remain operational, and continue to scale and hire.

Recent follow-on investments include:
AutoModality (GENIUS NY 2017) has raised $3.8 million from LiteCap and Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory (ACSL) this past month. AutoModality is the global leader in advanced UAS flight control software for use in infrastructure inspection, including bridges, culverts, rolling-stock and cell towers. It creates fully-autonomous mobile systems that enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and safety of inspections and also reduces future maintenance.

Civdrone (GENIUS NY 2019) has raised $500,000 from New York-based firm ff Venture Capital (ffVC). Civdrone develops a device that can be mounted on commercially available drones for land surveying and marking on construction sites. Civdrone’s technology uses a built-in highly accurate real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS system and a mechanism that inserts stakes into the soil for marking.

Fotokite (GENIUS NY 2018) has raised its Series A from Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd, SONY Corporation, Qualcomm Ventures and private investors. It also recently completing a European Commission Horizon 2020 SME Phase 1 Project. Fotokite is dedicated to improving the safety and speed of public safety team operations, such as fire brigades, where it provides invaluable aerial situational awareness information to firefighters and first responders to help manage complex, safety-critical situations. Fotokite tethered aerial systems are self-flying, allowing public safety teams to spend less resources on piloting drones and more time on responding to their mission.

TruWeather Solutions (GENIUS NY 2018) has raised $450,000 from Kluz Ventures, through its The Flying Object and The Next Impact funds. TruWeather has built a service to improve the precision, accuracy and communication of weather intelligence for unmanned aerial systems. This investment will fuel the enhancement and market penetration of its first product, TruFliteUAS. TruFliteUAS is a micro weather data and business-focused analytic cloud service for the rapidly expanding commercial UAS and drone industry.

OmniMesh (GENIUS NY 2017) has raised $1 million from a SAFE agreement. OmniMesh’s patented technology enables service providers and content owners to efficiently deliver content to subscribers in a cost-effective, scalable and secure manner. OmniMesh’s platform enables competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs), cable companies, Telcos, mobile providers, production houses, content creators, and other entities to satisfy the growing demand for content —while substantially reducing the capital investment and operating costs associated with legacy infrastructure.

GENIUS NY invests $3 million in five early stage companies each year, while also providing incubator space, business programming, mentors and advisers, and resources. Now in its third year, it has already invested $9 million in 17 startups. The program is open to unmanned systems, IoT and big data startups. GENIUS NY is funded by Empire State Development and administered at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in Syracuse, New York. The program’s central focus is on unmanned systems, building on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy. New York State has invested significant resources to advance the unmanned aerial systems UAS industry in the region, which is home to one of only seven Federal Aviation Administration test sites and the only 50-mile beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) corridor for testing drones. Applications are open until October, 1, 2019. Apply at www.geniusny.com.

GENIUS NY is hosting its first 2019 Demo Day for the teams this month in New York City where finalists from all three cohorts will pitch to investors. This is a closed-door investor event and registration is required.. To learn more about the Demo Day please visit, https://bit.ly/2kEch1v.

Applications are still open for GENIUS NY’s 2020 accelerator competition. Five startups focused in unmanned systems, IoT and big data will be selected for the yearlong accelerator in Central New York. To learn more and apply, visit www.geniusny.com. Applications close Oct. 1, 2019.

CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyze and facilitate regional growth, and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving. www.centerstateceo.com