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CEO FOCUS: 14 Companies Advance in Semifinals of GENIUS NY

By Robert Simpson


GENIUS NY continues to be the benchmark accelerator program for companies developing innovations in the uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), internet of things, and robotics industries. 

Over the past five years, the program has proven its ability to foster the growth and acceleration of startups in the UAS sector, with 26 GENIUS NY teams leveraging $15 million in state investments to raise more than $100 million in follow-on funding, while creating more than 70 jobs in upstate New York. The program also supports the growth of the region’s larger UAS ecosystem, particularly as Central New York seeks federal investments to advance emerging “smart systems” opportunities in the region.

The program’s impact and influence are also evidenced in the more than 200 highly competitive applicants, representing more than 50 countries, received for the sixth round. Recently, 14 teams were named semifinalists, including nine international teams hailing from Germany, Israel, Poland, the Netherlands and United Kingdom; three teams are from New York state.

These 14 semifinalists will now present their technologies and business plans to a panel of executive advisers who will evaluate their ability to contribute to the region’s UAS ecosystem; scale and be successful; as well as the diversity of their technology focus and team makeup. They must also demonstrate a commitment to staying and growing in the Central New York area. Five finalists will be announced later this month and will arrive in Central New York in August to compete for $3 million in investments at Finals Night, in November.

While only five finalists will advance to participate in GENIUS NY’s sixth round, we will also work to support the growth of other teams, connecting them to opportunities at the Tech Garden and in Central New York.

Our members have played an important role in supporting GENIUS NY teams to date, helping connect them to partnerships and business services. We look forward to facilitating those relationships in the coming months.

You can learn more about the semifinalists at Plus, save the date for two popular annual events — Sept. 14 Business After Hours Presenting GENIUS NY Winners and Nov. 3 GENIUS NY Pitch Finals — where you can directly connect with the finalists. To learn more, contact Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY, at                   

Robert M. Simpson is president and CEO of CenterState CEO, the primary economic-development organization for Central New York. This article is drawn and edited from the “CEO Focus” email newsletter that the organization sent to members on July 7.