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GENIUS NY 2022 may very well be your ticket to $1 million on your drone startup


Want $1 million for your drone startup? The GENIUS NY 2022 accelerator competition might be worth your time.

The annual accelerator competition geared toward drone and other robotics startups is in its sixth year, and the application period is now open, through June 14, 2022. In past years, the competition has received hundreds of applications, so expect the competition for the GENIUS NY 2022 version to be fierce.

The accelerator program, which is based in Syracuse, New York, will narrow down applications to five finalists, all of whom are guarantee to split part of the $3 million cash prize pool. One winning company will take home $1 million of it. Companies selected as finalists will also have to spend a year working in an office in Syracuse. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Besides free office rent, companies will have access to workshops, training, mentoring and opportunities for networking and follow-on funding.

Syracuse is also a particular appealing location for many companies in the drone industry given its close proximity to New York’s Griffiss International Airport, one of just seven FAA-designated UAS test sites in the United States. 

Within that site you’ll find site a 50-mile drone corridor which isn’t physical, but rather is a digital corridor comprised of a network of sensors and radar, allowing drone companies to test drones and UTM technology in real world settings. The site then makes that data available to other stakeholders in the drone industry including companies and regulators, all in the hopes of making widespread commercial drone adoption more viable. New York is also the site of the UTM Pilot Program Phase 2, and has been the site of other drone testing projects including drone parachutes.

Since its inception, dozens of companies have gone through the GENIUS NY accelerator to scale operations, secure partners, acquire customers and earn follow-on funding. Since 2017, GENIUS NY has invested over $15 million in 26 early-stage companies from around the world.

The 2021 grand prize winner was North Dakota-based drone startup Airtonomy, which focuses on using drones for data collection.

You can apply for the GENIUS NY 2022 accelerator program here.

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