Get to know the GENIUS NY Cohort 7 teams in our weekly profiles leading up to the Pitch Finals on Oct. 4, 2023.
GENIUS NY finalist Blueflite has something in common with global tech giants Google, Apple and Microsoft: where it started. The company began developing uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) technologies, commonly known as drones, in Chief Technology Officer James McClearen’s garage.
The location made sense for Blueflite’s early days. McClearen’s Michigan home had the space and the necessary tools to develop Blueflite’s technology. It also offered McClearen the shortest commute available. He could start work without having to leave his home, get his daughters off to school, and go back to work. But it was harder as the company grew. Blueflite, led by McClearen and CEO Frank Noppel, hosted venture capital firms and customers, including members of the military at McClearen’s home. The garage Blueflite grew up in was no longer a practical space. McClearen said they need to take the next step and move out.
Blueflite’s team moved in late 2022 to a new office and manufacturing space, where they continue to build and develop drone technologies. Their drones have a variety of uses, but where they’re focused now is medical delivery. Their technology can make equipment deliveries faster and greener. Take lab-to-lab deliveries for example. McClearen said using drones to accomplish this takes cars and carriers off the road, reducing emissions, and it decreases lab sample travel time.
One of Blueflite’s long-term goals is to be able to conduct organ deliveries with speed and energy efficiency, as they do with lab-to-lab testing. McClearen’s sure they haven’t thought of all the ways Blueflite’s technology could be used, but they’re trying to stay focused on the projects in front of them. Blueflite creates the drones, but they don’t operate them. McClearen said there are other companies that try to do it all, but they’ve decided to focus and lean on partners.
Early this year, Blueflite and Acadian Ambulance joined forces to develop a medical emergency response tool. The drones are equipped with tools to address common medical emergencies: an EpiPen, Narcan, and an AED. McClearen said it’s one of the most exciting things Blueflite is working on.
For McClearen, it’s clear New York cares about helping UAS companies succeed. The state’s invested over $110 million in the UAS ecosystem since 2016. This includes the GENIUS NY program in Syracuse at CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden. He said with the state’s investment and regional resources like the FAA test site, it’s a good place to be.
Find out more about what Blueflite is working on, along with the four other GENIUS NY Cohort 7 finalist companies, as they compete for a chance to win the $1 million prize at Innovation Night featuring GENIUS NY Pitch Finals on Oct. 4 in Downtown Syracuse. Get a chance to meet and network with other emerging startups in Central New York from the Syracuse Surge Accelerator and The Tech Garden. Tickets are free but registration is required. Learn more and get tickets here!