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Griffiss Institute announces eight startups for next AFRL Commercialization Academy

By Eric Reinhardt


Image credit: Griffiss Institute

ROME, N.Y. — Griffiss Institute has announced the eight startup teams in the next group involved in the AFRL Commercialization Academy.

AFRL is short for Air Force Research Laboratory.

The companies are focused on areas that include cybersecurity, big data analytics, information systems, and the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry, Griffiss Institute said in a news release. They were selected from a pool of applicant submissions.

The teams will be “incubated and educated” while building their startups around U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) intellectual property (IP) from the AFRL in cooperation with the other AFRL partnership intermediaries around the nation.

“The spring 2020 cohort is an impassioned group of startups with many creative ideas that can positively impact Central New York and the entire country,” Dan Fayette, AFRL Commercialization Academy program manager, said. “I look forward to watching their progress through the Commercialization Academy as they gather valuable information to help their businesses prosper and thrive. I wish the best of luck to all, as they strive to make the cut and compete at Demo Day for IDEA NY prize money.”

Beginning this month, the startups will begin their Commercialization Academy work. They’ll participate in bi-weekly online classes and one-on-one sessions; go through a down-select process in April; and the remaining selected teams will pitch their tech businesses to a panel of judges at a June Demo Day event for a piece of the $300,000 in prize seed funding from IDEA NY.

A grand prize of $200,000 will be awarded to the overall winner, and $100,000 will go to the runner-up.

After Demo Day, eligible teams will participate in the IDEA NY accelerator program that will “incentivize promising entrepreneurs” to create and grow viable commercial businesses in the Mohawk Valley by requiring that the company locate its primary office in the Mohawk Valley region for a 12-month period, per the release.

The AFRL Commercialization Academy is a Griffiss Institute entrepreneurial education program sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI).

8 companies involved

  • Future Skills USA of Utica is a homeland defense and national security social enterprise focused on the economic development and workforce development of the Mohawk Valley, security and sustainability of U.S. commercial and military enterprises, along with global and national information infrastructures.
  • Imagine Aerial of Manlius is developing and deploying UAS and “data innovations that revolutionize” project delivery in building construction and maintenance, infrastructure, sports and public safety, as described in the release.
  • Another company from Oneida, whose name is “pending,” is developing an online privacy and anonymity service through the use of artificial intelligence and cloud computing.
  • Seven Points of Utica is a data-specific SaaS (software as a service) company focusing on human-centered design for municipalities, small businesses, and nonprofits.
  • Atolla Surveillance of Rockville Centre (Nassau County, Long Island) is developing a sensor system for the counter-surveillance of micro air vehicles (MAVs) that would otherwise be undetectable.
  • BloomOptix of Rochester is focused on providing “innovative, high-resolution, accurate and timely, early” harmful algal blooms (HABs) detection and future forecasting services, through the collection of data using unmanned aerial and surface vehicles.
  • OMADA Group of Long Beach (Nassau County, Long Island) is a training organization which also partners with additional companies in the UAV space to provide consolidated programs to law enforcement, fire services, and emergency services.
  • Vistex Composites of Schenectady is a manufacturing “innovation” company that has developed “disruptive” technology for the manufacturing of advanced thermoset and thermoplastic composite products.

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