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Italy-based company captures $1M grand prize in third year of Genius NY business contest

By Eric Reinhardt


Sentient Blue Technologies is the winner of the $1 million top prize in this year’s Genius NY business-accelerator competition at the Tech Garden in Syracuse. Sentient Blue, which is based in Italy, is working to develop hybrid-power system for drones. Judges awarded funding to five companies during the “Finals Night” held Tuesday night at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Sentient Blue Technologies, a company headquartered in Italy, was named the grand-prize winner of $1 million in the third year of the Genius NY business-accelerator program at the Tech Garden in Syracuse.

Genius NY stands for Growing ENtrepreneurs & Innovators in UpState New York.

Sentient Blue develops “efficient, more environmentally friendly” micro gas turbine based power plants for use in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to increase flight endurance, CenterState CEO said in a news release.

“We’ll need to basically be filing for some intellectual property protection in the form of patents. We’re going to be hiring more personnel right here in Syracuse and Rome. These are going to be engineering jobs and skilled-manufacturing jobs,” says Saif-Deen Akanni, founder, CEO, and chief technical officer of Sentient Blue Technologies.

Judges selected Sentient Blue Technologies as the grand-prize winner of $1 million in the third edition of the Genius NY business-accelerator program at the Tech Garden. The company captured the top prize during the program’s “Finals Night” held Tuesday night at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

Besides Sentient Blue, four competing Genius NY companies each won $500,000.

The program, supported by Empire State Development Corporation, invested more than $3 million in the companies, “making it the largest business accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world.”

UAS is short for unmanned-aircraft system. A UAS includes a drone and equipment used to control its flight. A drone is also referred to in the industry as an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV.

$500K winners

The companies that were awarded $500,000 investments included ResilienX of Syracuse, a firm that is developing software to increase the resilience and reduce the maintenance costs of UTM systems.

This software will monitor the health and integrity of a system and will facilitate fault recovery if a problem is encountered.

EagleHawk of Buffalo provides a preventive-maintenance platform for commercial buildings with flat roofs. EagleHawk leverages drones equipped with infrared sensors to detect roof leaks “that are not evident to the naked eye,” CenterState CEO said.

Vermeer of Brooklyn is an augmented-reality drone product that “enables anyone” to capture aerial photos, videos, and data. A user can now design their aerial shot in an augmented-reality environment and then send it to a drone to execute autonomously in the real world.

Additionally, CivDrone of Israel develops “fast, reliable and autonomous marking solutions” on enterprise drones for the construction industry. Digitalizing and automating land-surveying services will increase productivity and shorten time of construction while lowering its costs.

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