ND's Airtonomy wins $1M in Syracuse business competition

By Jeanne Tyler Moodee Lockman | October 29, 2021

On Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that Airtonomy of Grand Forks, North Dakota is the $1 million grand prize winner of the fifth round of the GENIUS NY accelerator competition.

According to a statement from Gov. Hochul, the year-long program is the world’s largest business competition focused on unmanned systems, cross-connected platforms, and other technology-based sectors.

Airial Robotics of Hamburg, Germany, CarScanner of Krakow, Poland, Circle Optics of Rochester, NY, and WindShape of Geneva, Switzerland were each awarded investments of $500,000 following the fifth-round virtual pitch event.

The teams will use the investments to continue accelerating their growth and expand their presence in the region.

According to Gov. Hochul, the state has invested $25 million in the five rounds of the GENIUS NY competition.

“The GENIUS NY competition continues to transform the landscape of Central New York by attracting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs from around the world to the region,” said Gov. Hochul. “Our continued investment in unmanned aerial system businesses is helping to ensure that New York remains the leader in this important industry and brings quality jobs and economic growth to Central New York.”

GENIUS NY participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year.

The GENIUS NY program, which is administered by CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in Syracuse, offers participants incubator space, company resources, programming, and mentoring.

Since 2017, GENIUS NY companies have raised more than $73.5 million in follow-on funding and have created 60 jobs in the region.

The advancement of the GENIUS NY program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, the region’s award-winning strategic plan to revitalize communities and grow the economy.

The grand prize winner, Airtonomy, enables anyone to collect data uniformly, using autonomous vehicles or drones.

It makes complex flight as easy as pushing a button so that a wind technician, security guard, or power lineman can operate a drone safely and consistently, and collect data uniformly.

This means that data collected can be processed automatically, using machine learning, and turned into actionable intelligence for an organization.

“Airtonomy is transforming the UAS landscape and is honored to be selected as the Genius NY 2021 winner,” said Airtonomy founder and CEO Dr. Joshua R. Reidy. “This award will fuel Airtonomy's continued growth and will result in the hiring of local talent and the direct investment in the UAS ecosystem, including throughout the Central. The GENIUS NY program, especially the amazing people and organizations involved, have been incredible. We look forward to reciprocating the support we've experienced with other startups in the region."