The World’s Largest Business Accelerator for Uncrewed Systems is Accepting Applications through May 17
GENIUS NY is Supported by “CNY Rising” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Empire State Development (ESD) today announced that GENIUS NY – the world’s largest business accelerator focused on uncrewed aerial systems – is now accepting applications for the seventh round of the year-long program. The in-residence accelerator, operated by CenterState CEO in downtown Syracuse, will invest more than $3 million in five finalist companies, including a $1 million grand prize. The program also offers company stipends, resources, programming, mentorship, and networking opportunities to assist innovative startups with the tools they need to take advantage of emerging opportunities. GENIUS NY participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year. The program is funded through the CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), the region’s award-winning strategic plan to generate robust economic growth and community development.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “GENIUS NY’s seventh round will help to further fuel Central New York’s thriving uncrewed aerial systems industry. This unique business accelerator competition is attracting forward-thinking entrepreneurial ideas and innovators to the region, as well as top companies that are ready to take advantage of the area’s unmatched UAS assets and infrastructure.”
Applications are being accepted at through May 17, 2023 from tech startups focused in uncrewed aerial systems, IoT, big data, and robotics. Subsets may include precision and remote sensing, smart city applications, data collection and analytics, guidance or communication systems, and sensors, among other technological categories.

“We are looking for high-potential teams who want to join our program so they can accelerate the growth of their companies and become engaged in the region’s growing UAS and UTM ecosystem,” said Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY. “GENIUS NY is a unique program in that it provides targeted resources to companies so they can scale faster and generate revenue sooner. Through six rounds of this accelerator program, we have seen impact and advancement of this sector within our economy, which is a proven jobs creator.”

Applications are evaluated by a panel of judges, and semi-finalists will be selected to present demos and pitches this spring. Five companies will advance to participate in the program, which is structured as a unique programmed incubator and accelerator experience. The selected teams will enter the in-residence accelerator at The Tech Garden later this summer where they will be immersed in the incubator’s events, resource pool, and mentoring. Applicants should be prepared to relocate to Central New York to participate in the program starting in August.

The program has attracted more than 32 startups to Central New York since its inception in 2017. To date, the innovative teams have gone on to raise more than $100 million in venture capital and have created more than 80 upstate New York jobs.

Round six winner, Archangel Imaging received the top prize of $1 million in November 2022. The company has seen significant growth in Central New York and has partnered with several local providers and customers. They recently made their first U.S hire and last month partnered with past GENIUS team, Circle Optics to combine their 360-degree imaging with its data science and software.

To read more about this announcement, click here

To apply to GENIUS NY and learn more, click here.​

Accelerating CNY Rising
Today’s announcement complements “CNY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive strategy to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. More information is available here.
About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency ( The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit and

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Published On: February 7, 2023