Get to know the GENIUS NY Cohort 7 teams in our weekly profiles leading up to the Pitch Finals on Oct. 4, 2023.
Edwin Sanchez grew up during the Colombian Conflict, with drug cartels, guerilla groups and the Colombian government all violently competing for power in the country. Very often, civilians were the victims. Sanchez said the violence created an environment where young people didn’t expect to live past their adolescent years. Despite the violence that surrounded him, Sanchez was nurtured by entrepreneurial parents who encouraged his passions, both of which were essential to his outlook toward the future.
“That creates this mindset in which you live one day at a time. When you actually decide to do good, you say, OK, if I have one day to live, I want to do the best day. I want to be the best and give the best. Day by day, you start developing this, and that turns into resilience. I’m sure that I gained this tremendous resilience throughout that very time.”
Sanchez graduated from college in Colombia with a software engineering degree and immigrated to the United State in 2001. His early career was in the corporate world, working in a variety of roles in marketing, sales, licensing and consulting. It was during this time he met his partner Daniel Echeverri, a vendor for one of the companies that Sanchez owns. Echeverri is an expert in networking and cybersecurity, but he’s also a professional drone racer. It was through Echeverri that Sanchez became interested in uncrewed aerial systems (UAS).
Now combining his entrepreneurial drive, software engineering background, and love for drones, Sanchez is the CEO of VOTIX, one of five GENIUS NY finalists. VOTIX’s software enables pilots of any drone to safely and reliably manage, automate and control their machine remotely. The idea came from one of Sanchez’s other interests: archeology. He remembers watching a webcam of ancient Egyptian ruins. “I thought, ‘Hey, what if I actually bring this webcam on board [a] drone, and I can see it. Somebody can actually man the drone, do a tour and show me in real time a closer view,’” Sanchez said. “Or even better, if I actually can man the drone remotely and do something on my own.”
The tourism industry didn’t end up being a good fit for the technology at the time, but the software is helping drone operators and manufacturers turn off-the-shelf drones into fully automated fleets. Sanchez said the success of VOTIX can be attributed in part to the diversity of experience the team brings to the table. Between himself, Ed Boucas, CTO Daniel Echeverri and his brother CCO Santiago Echeverri, Sanchez said they have “a 360 perspective” on what the market and industry need.
Find out more about what VOTIX 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!