Italian Team Wins GENIUS NY Grand Prize

"We would like to thank everyone at GENIUS NY for sharing our vision of revolutionizing the drone industry with our hybrid technology. We are thrilled to be a part of the GENIUS NY ecosystem," said Saif Akanni, CEO and CTO of Sentient Blue, at the awards ceremony.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on April 10 announced Sentient Blue, a team from Italy, is the winner of the $1 million grand prize from Round Three of the GENIUS NY accelerator, part of $3 million that has been awarded to companies that will operate in Syracuse, N.Y. The GENIUS NY program is a business competition focused on unmanned systems, cross-connected platforms, and other technology-based sectors; EagleHawk from Buffalo, Vermeer from Brooklyn, Resilienx from Syracuse, and Civdrone from Israel each will receive investments of $500,000, and Resilienx was named the crowd favorite in a live poll taken during the awards ceremony.

New York State has now invested $15 million in GENIUS NY through three rounds of the competition. "The GENIUS NY competition is transforming the economic landscape of Central New York by attracting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs," Cuomo said. "By investing in the unmanned aerial system businesses, we are ensuring that New York continues to establish itself as the leader in this burgeoning industry that is bringing jobs and economic growth to the Central New York region."

Sentient Blue develops efficient, more environmentally friendly micro gas turbine-based power plants for use in unmanned aerial vehicles to increase flight endurance, according to the governor's news release.

The GENIUS NY program is administered by The Tech Garden and CenterState CEO in Syracuse. It offers incubator space, company resources, programming, and mentoring; participants are required to operate their business in central New York for at least one year.

"We at Sentient Blue are honored to have been selected as the winner of GENIUS NY 2019. We would like to thank everyone at GENIUS NY for sharing our vision of revolutionizing the drone industry with our hybrid technology. We are thrilled to be a part of the GENIUS NY ecosystem," said Saif Akanni, CEO and CTO of Sentient Blue. "This award is a real milestone for Sentient Blue; it will allow us to establish the company in Central New York and accelerate our growth and development."

Rick Clonan, vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO, said the awards marked the beginning of the second phase of the GENIUS NY program. "Tomorrow, our teams will get right back to work utilizing the input received from judges to refine their business plans to accelerate their growth. We look forward to several more months of helping these teams make connections," he added. "As we learned from the program's first two rounds, the coming months will be incredibly productive for these teams, and we look forward to seeing their incredible progress."

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