GENIUS NY Wrap: Transformation

GENIUS NY Wrap: Transformation

The five companies that make up GENIUS NY’s Cohort 7 are wrapping up their year in the accelerator. Since 2017, GENIUS NY companies have raised more than $100 million in follow-on funding and have created hundreds of new jobs in New York State.

As they all prepare for their own next steps in the uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) industry, they’re reflecting on how the program changed their companies. For many of them, they entered the program as a smaller company focused on research and development (R&D) and are now evolving and accelerating their growth thanks to support from the program.

“We started as an underdog, heavily focused on R&D and less on marketing and customer acquisition,” GENIUS NY grand prize winner blueflite CEO Frank Noppel said. “Now, we’re gaining traction with numerous customers and big names.”

Fellow Cohort 7 team Greenjets experienced a similar transition. CEO Anmol Manohar said before the program, they were mostly focused on R&D to bring quieter, safer, more efficient propulsion systems to the aviation industry.

“We are now not an R&D company anymore. We are in revenue generation. At the moment, we are selling products to a variety of customers and building a variety of drones: from surveillance drones to high-speed drones to cargo drones,” Manohar said.

For others in the cohort, the program greatly elevated their company’s visibility across the industry and expanded their view of the industry ecosystem. Voltela CEO Kim Mahler said while they were working on a critical issue in the drone industry, they were pretty unknown.

“We are still small, but thanks to GENIUS NY, we were able to gain better visibility in the industry and progress faster,” Mahler said.

VOTIX was similarly looking for ways to raise its profile across the drone industry and connect with industry partners. VOTIX CEO Edwin Sanchez said they were still learning how to connect with venture capital funders and the federal government. VOTIX CCO Santiago Ecchiverri said GENIUS NY gave them a better vision on the market.

“We understood better what to do going forward and what to plan for in terms of sales and marketing once we got this concrete board of advisors that we got through GENIUS NY,” Ecchiverri said.

The five teams are all making this progress while working out of CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden. For Aloft, the GENIUS NY program and Central New York region gave the company a new place to call home.

“Having given up any sort of locality during the pandemic, there was no HQ and no place to call home. Syracuse brought Aloft back to having an HQ,” Aloft CSO and co-founder Joshua Ziering said. “As a hub of UAS innovation, we couldn’t think of a better place to call home.”

All five companies and their year of impressive accomplishments will be celebrated during the upcoming Flight Fest at Le Moyne College. Their stories are a testament to the GENIUS NY program’s transformative power of mentorship and strategic support.

The GENIUS NY program is getting ready to welcome its next cohort in just a few months. Semifinalists for Round 8 have been announced, and five finalists selected by an esteemed team of evaluators will be revealed in the coming weeks.

This story is part of an ongoing series sharing the accomplishments of the five GENIUS NY Cohort 7 teams during their year in the program.

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Published On: June 18, 2024