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Five Genius NY startups raise more than $10M in follow-on funding

By Eric Reinhardt


The Genius NY program says five of its participants have raised more than $10 million in additional investments. The firms include grand prize winners AutoModality and Fotokite, along with Civdrone, TruWeather Solutions, and OmniMesh. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Five startups in the Genius NY accelerator have raised more than $10 million in additional private investment.

They include AutoModality, Civdrone, Fotokite, OmniMesh, and TruWeather Solutions, according to a Thursday news release from CenterState CEO and Genius NY.

Genius NY is CenterState CEO’s in-residence business accelerator program at the Tech Garden in Syracuse. Genius NY stands for Growing ENtrepreneurs & Innovators in UpState New York.

This follow-on-funding “validates” the investments the Genius NY program has made in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) technologies and startups over the last three years, CenterState CEO contends.

Genius NY is supported by Central New York Rising, which “advances the region’s collective strategy to create ecosystem of resources for companies in the UAS industry.”

“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,” Jon Parry, director of Genius NY, said in the release. “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 firms, AutoModality and Fotokite, were awarded the program’s $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,” the release stated.


AutoModality — a 2017 Genius NY participant — has raised $3.8 million from LiteCap and Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory (ACSL) this past month. AutoModality specializes 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,” per the release.

Civdrone — a 2019 Genius NY participant, $500,000 prize winner — 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, real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS system and a mechanism that inserts stakes into the soil for marking.

Fotokite — a 2018 Genius NY participant — has raised its funding from Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd, SONY Corporation, Qualcomm Ventures, and private investors. It also recently spent time completing a European Commission Horizon 2020 SME Phase 1 Project. Fotokite is focused on improving the safety and speed of public safety team operations, such as fire brigades, where it provides 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,” per the release.

TruWeather Solutions — a 2018 Genius NY participant, $400,000 prize winner — 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 UAS. This investment will “fuel the enhancement and market penetration” of its first product, TruFliteUAS. That is a micro weather data and business-focused analytic cloud service for the commercial UAS and drone industry.

OmniMesh — a 2017 Genius NY participant, $400,000 prize winner — has raised $1 million from a simple agreement for future equity, or SAFE agreement, per the release. OmniMesh’s patented technology enables service providers and content owners to 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.

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