New York state made direct investment in the uncrewed aerial systems (UAS) economy last week for the seventh time. Five competing UAS companies pitched live to a crowd of hundreds of people and a panel of judges, making the case that their technology is industry-disrupting and that Syracuse and Central New York is the place to be.
GENIUS NY is one of the world’s largest UAS accelerators. Based in Syracuse and administered by CenterState CEO, GENIUS NY is part of New York state’s innovation ecosystem strategy. Now in its seventh round, the accelerator has helped establish New York state as a leader in the UAS space, with the hub of this innovation along the Central New York and Mohawk Valley corridor.
This year’s grand prize winner, blueflite, offers a drone-based logistics platform. Its patented, unique, and all-electrical drone design has vertical take-off and landing capabilities, advanced maneuverability, and is built to meet the rigorous demands of commercial operations.
GENIUS NY distributes a total of USD3 million across the five teams. The four other finalists each received a USD500,000 investment:
- Aloft provides software solutions for individual aircraft and full fleet management to make drone operation safer and more valuable.
- Greenjets creates electric propulsors that make drones safer, quieter and more sustainable.
- Voltela provides software that ensures a reliable and consistent communication network for uncrewed aerial systems.
- VOTIX supplies a hardware-agnostic platform that enables drone automation, orchestration and remote operation.
The state has made major investments in the uncrewed aircraft systems industry, including an initial investment of USD35 million to develop a 50-mile, UAS flight traffic management corridor; USD33 million through seven rounds of GENIUS NY competition, including USD21 million in direct investment in 37 GENIUS NY teams, and USD16.6 million in ongoing investments for the expansion of CenterState CEO’s business incubator in downtown Syracuse to help grow its UAS industry efforts.
Aloft’s Founder, Joshua Ziering said: “Securing this win at GENIUS NY is not just a testament to the innovation and hard work of the Aloft team but also underlines the promise and potential of our growing partnerships in the State of New York,” said Joshua Ziering. “With the support and visibility that comes with this investment, we’re poised to continue growing Aloft at an even faster pace.”
The funding will significantly accelerate Aloft’s growth trajectory. With plans to expand their team in Syracuse, NY, the company is strategically positioning itself at the heart of a burgeoning drone ecosystem. Aloft’s recent relocation of its international headquarters to Syracuse speaks to the region’s unique offerings. The Syracuse area, complemented by the NUAIR test corridor, presents an unparalleled opportunity, fostering a community of drone enterprises that’s unparalleled anywhere in the world.
“As we expand our footprint in Syracuse, we’re not just investing in our company’s future, but also in the future of Syracuse as a global hub for drone innovation.”
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