About Genius NY

Archangel Imaging receives $1 million check

GENIUS NY is a startup accelerator sponsored by Empire State Development that invests $3M annually into seed-stage startups focused on uncrewed aerial systems, automation and advanced air mobility. 

Five finalists are selected for the GENIUS NY startup accelerator each year.

Winners of the startup accelerator receive a large investment; one grand prize winner receives $1 million, followed by four $500,000 investments to the remaining teams. ​Winners also receive workshops and events, business training, a dedicated group of executive advisors, industry mentors, free office space and amenities, and recruiting, marketing, and fundraising support.

Fueling Innovation, Fostering Growth
Explore GENIUS NY’s Year-Long Program in Syracuse, New York. Offering Substantial Investment for Sustainable Growth. Apply Today!

What Teams Are Saying

“Bringing Fotokite to the U.S. has always been important for the success of our startup. GENIUS NY has accelerated this process for us even more than we could have expected, resulting in game-changing speed of growth, incredible local and national network connections, and highly curated business advice to help prepare and scale up operations.”


“We felt welcomed and supported in Syracuse, and are able to maintain a presence at The Tech Garden with our CNY team members. We really like the Tech Garden space and environment.”


“We were delighted to participate in the GENIUS NY program. We looked at a lot of other communities and considered a number of other opportunities, but this is where all of the ingredients came together in such a way that the decision to sink our roots here became a no-brainer.”

Ascent AeroSystems

“A collaborative entrepreneurial community focused on drone-related technology development combined with access to domain experts makes GENIUS NY a true win-win opportunity.”

EZ3D Technologies

“The GENIUS program is why we are the leader in UAS Weather and Services today. Thank you.”

TruWeather Solutions

“The People and Program are what make Genius NY exceptional. Nothing but great things to say about those we’ve been fortunate enough to work with.”


“The workshops and social activities were a great opportunity for all startups to get to know each other – professionally and personally. TTG and CNY are a great ecosystem – not too busy and saturated so all startups have equal opportunities at succeeding in the space.”


“The program was highly supportive and offered practical tools for evaluating the core business and the constant influx of “shinies” that attract our attention. It also fostered relationships between the participants and with the staff that persist to this day.”


“The time we were there was truly awesome – working around creative and talented individuals was motivating and inspiring, and the space itself is a welcoming and beautiful work environment.”


“Everyone is very welcoming and very open. They do a lot to bring us together instead of keeping the competition up. I’ve already had intense discussions with four of the other winners about how we can do business together, and how we can bring our system together with their assistance, and basically develop a product that has a bigger added value.”

Airial Robotics

“If you’re doing something in the drone or robotics space, or something that might possibly have an application there, this is the premier program to do so. We’re learning a lot from other companies that have been here before about what people want in a drone product. That access to a group of mentors and companies that have been there and done that is invaluable.”

Circle Optics

What Winners Receive

Funding + Stipends

Finalists receive $10,800 monthly in Phase I and are awarded $1 million or $500K at Pitch Finals

Industry Mentors + Executive Advisors

Dedicated one-on-one mentorship with experts in your field

Programming + Workshops

Workshops on product market fit, customer discovery, fundraising and go-to-market strategies

UAS Partners

Access to a vast UAS ecosystem including past GENIUS NY companies, NUAIR and the NY UAS Test Site

Free Office Space

Teams receive free office space at The Tech Garden incubator in Syracuse, NY

Recruiting + Fundraising Support

Work with staff and mentors to successfully fundraise, hire and scale

Is Your Startup a Good Fit for Genius NY?

Ideal Applicants

  • Technologies in the uncrewed systems or UAS, automation and AAM space 
  • Pre-seed/Seed stage qualifications 
  • Founders that have domain expertise and a great team 
  • Traction with paying customers 
  • Revenue or an MVP 
  • A strong value proposition to locate in the Central New York region 
  • Potential strategic partnerships with past GENIUS NY and Central New York companies 


  • Businesses must be venture backable and high growth potential.
  • Business focus must be in the broader categories of:
    • Uncrewed systems, automation, advanced air mobility.
  • Willingness to operate under the Terms and Conditions set forth by GENIUS NY.
  • Willing to commit to living on a full-time basis in Central New York for the period of the program.
  • Able to speak or communicate in English.
  • Able to travel to the United States with proper travel/work visa (GENIUS NY has no involvement or responsibility in securing participation entry documentation.)

Program Timeline

  • February 8, 2024 – Applications Open for GENIUS NY (Round 8)
  • May 15, 2024 – Applications Close for GENIUS NY 
  • Week of June 17, 2024 – Semi-Finalists Announced 
  • Week of July 5, 2024 – Finalists Announced 
  • Week of August 12, 2024 – Phase I of Accelerator Begins (Syracuse, NY) 
  • October 28/29, 2024 – Pitch Finals (Grand Prize Winner Decided)
  • November 2024 – July 2025 – Phase II of Accelerator Begins 

Support Partners

Genius NY gets support and resources from the partners listed below. These partners work with teams at various stages and are vested in the success of your business.

Upstate Capital
Armory Square Ventures
Upstate Venture Connect

An Ecosystem of Tech Startups

The Tech Garden

The Tech Garden logo

The Tech Garden is home to the GENIUS NY startup accelerator. The Tech Garden (TTG) is the place in Central New York for tech entrepreneurs to find a full range of incubation services needed to achieve their venture goals. TTG members are assessed and offered programs, events, and resources in tailored packages from co-working, where entrepreneurs can connect and work, to full-service incubation that delivers a business case, pitch deck, and funding opportunities.

Economic Development and Business Leadership

CenterState CEO

Centerstate Corporation for Economic Opportunity logo

The Tech Garden makes up CenterState CEO’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship portfolio. 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. Its vision is for a vibrant and globally connected region recognized as a place where business thrives and people prosper. CenterState CEO provides connections to nearly 2,000 member businesses of all sizes across Central and Northern New York.

CNY Rising

Empire State Development

Empire State Development

In support and implementation of GENIUS NY, Empire State Development and New York State Governor Kathy Hochul designated $5 million in funding for GENIUS NY. This program intends to expand the success of similar economic incubator/startup acceleration programs in other regions of the State, bringing new vitality and involvement in the 21st century global market.