Fotokite named winner of Genius NY competition

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On April 10, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Switzerland’s Fotokite was the winner of the $1 million grand prize from Round II of the Genius NY accelerator.

Fotokite has created a “kite-like tethered drone system” by combining aerial and ground-based robotics with patented flight control algorithms. Using the tether, the system can fly for 24-hours fully autonomously.

“This is tremendous support from the Genius NY program and CenterState CEO and a total game changer for Fotokite,” says Chris McCall, CEO of Fotokite.

“We are excited to be expanding operations here to support our customers moving forward and will work hard to continue building on this early momentum. The other teams in the program have been great and there are opportunities to work with them in the next phase of the Genius NY program.”

Regarded as one of the world's largest business competitions focused on unmanned systems, the Genius NY accelerator awarded six finalist teams a total of nearly $3 million at its finals event on the night of April 10. Prizes and investments of $1 million, $600,000, $400,000 and three $250,000 awards were presented to the six finalist teams.

During the event, which was held at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, the six teams pitched their business plans to a panel of judges and to a live audience. After the pitches were made, all six competitors were awarded one of six investments, which the teams will use to continue to accelerate their growth, and expand their presence in the region.

The second-place prize of $600,000 was awarded to Quantifly, while the third-place prize of $400,000 went to TruWeather. TruWeather was also named the crowd favorite in a live poll taken during the event.

The other three finalists—UsPLM, Dropcopter, and Precision Vision—were all awarded $250,000. 

Under the rules of Genius NY, participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year.

Genius NY notes that the program builds on the progress of CNY Rising, which is the region's strategic plan to “revitalize communities and grow the economy.”

“Genius NY II continues to build on the success of the first round of this groundbreaking competition,” comments Governor Cuomo. 

“By committing to creating a comprehensive network for innovative UAS companies in Central New York, we continue to grow Central New York into a centralized hub for innovation to grow the region's economy for years to come.”

On Wednesday, May 2, all six Genius NY teams will pitch during AUVSI’s Xponential show in Denver. The pitches will take place in XPO Hall- Starting Point Theater.