Application Period for World’s Largest Business Accelerator Competition Closes

Program’s Third Round Receives Strongest Interest in Program’s History

GENIUS NY 3.0 Attracts Unmanned Systems Startups from Around the World

Investment in GENIUS NY is supported by “CNY Rising” – The Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

SYRACUSE, NY – GENIUS NY, a business accelerator program at CenterState CEO’s Tech
Garden announced the application period for round three is closed. The program attracted more than 350 applications for this round, the largest number and most competitive in the competition’s history. Of the applications received, more than half came from teams operating outside of New York, and more than a quarter from outside the continental United States. Applications from entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses focused on unmanned systems, IoT and data-to-decision platforms will now be evaluated by a panel of judges. Twelve semi-finalists will b selected to present demos and pitches later this fall. Five finalist companies will be selected to participate in the program and will receive an investment of nearly $3 million, including grand prizes valued at $1 million, and four investments totalling $500,000.

“The highly-competitive pool of applications we received this round is the result of the growth and success companies from the program’s first two rounds have experienced in such a short time,”
said Jonathan Parry, director of GENIUS NY. “We feel we can uniquely offer startup companies in the unmanned systems sector the right combination of investments, wraparound support services, and a region with the leading-edge research and development. The teams which will be selected to participate in round three will benefit from the experience and success of the 12 teams we have supported through rounds one and two. We look forward to working with round three’s finalists.”

Five teams that participate in the program will enter the in-residence accelerator at CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in January, and will be immersed in the incubator’s events, resource pool, and mentoring. Participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for one year during the competition.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Our strategic investments in the innovation economy are ensuring that the GENIUS NY accelerator and other innovative startups will continue to lead Central New York’s burgeoning unmanned systems industry and support the region’s long-term economic growth.”

Round three of the GENIUS NY program will run for 12 months. It is the largest business
accelerator competition for the UAS industry in the world. The advancement of the GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy. The UAS industry accelerator program is administered by CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden in Downtown Syracuse.

Beyond investments, GENIUS NY participants have access to some of the region’s premier
startup programming, including business planning, industry-specific mentorship, and access to vetted service providers offering startup friendly terms. As part of this effort, participants will be integrated into the larger regional effort to grow unmanned aerial systems in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley and will have access to world-leading infrastructure and testing assets when they come online. Participants also receive incubator space and stipends, as well as access to investors towards the end of the year for follow-on-investment.

To learn more about GENIUS NY visit,

Accelerating CNY Rising
Today’s announcement complements “CNY Rising,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to
generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.7 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating CNY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015.

The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.

Applications are now open and will be accepted until October 1, 2018. To learn more about
GENIUS NY or to apply visit or contact Jonathan Parry, director of GENIUS NY at [email protected] or by calling 315-345-2448.

About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist,
business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its
members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart
business, catalyze and facilitate regional growth, and promote community prosperity through results-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving.

GENIUS NY is an in-residence business accelerator program at The Tech Garden in Central New York that goes beyond substantial direct investment. In addition to $3 million in total investment for five teams, the program also offers incubator space, company stipends, resources, programming, and connections, making it among the largest competitions of its kind across the globe. The program is made possible by $5 million in funding support provided by Empire State Development, New York State’s chief economic development agency.

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