Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR START-UP FUNDING 36 unmanned systems inside   August/September 2017 Gryphon Sensors and others," Parry said. "Some advisors for Genius NY have come from those companies." First Team of Winners 2017 was the first year of the Genius NY com- petition, which received more than 250 sub- missions from teams all over the world. The first prizewinner was AutoModality, which is dedicated to creating autonomous mobile systems that can navigate the world around them without relying on GPS. The company's "Perceptive Navigation" software and sen- sors are designed to help drones get as close to a target as a human inspector, building 3-D models to help drones steer through ter- rain and stream high-quality video live from mounted cameras to handheld devices. "AutoModality can help get drones under the girders of bridges or in warehouses tracking inventory," Parry said. "We see a lot of growth potential in their market, and have been able to help them hire people by getting local re- cruiting firms to find the talent they needed." The second-place team, Ascent Aerosystems, creates unique cylindrical drones about the size and shape of a thermos bottle. "They're easy to transport in book-bags, and are rugged and du- rable," Parry said. "They started on Kickstarter and sold 400 units, and we connected them with manufacturers in our region and they are now successfully filling all those purchases—we see units shipped out almost every day." Seeking Technology Diversity Applications are open for the 2018 competition until October 1. "People can learn more and apply by going to GeniusNY.com," Parry said. "We plan to announce the finalist six teams in December." A third-party panel of judges will review all the applicants, including a technical judge with an engineering background as well as a more business-oriented judge with entrepreneurial or industry experience. "In the last competi- tion, 20 teams made it to the semifinals," Parry said. "Then we had them create a video pitch along with a slide deck for us to review, and our judges sent out specific questions if they had them, in order to choose six finalists." When it comes to what Genius NY might want for 2018, "we are looking for a diverse, complementary group of technologies," Parry said. "Last year, for example, we probably had a dozen or more UAV platforms, and a lot were great applications, but we'll likely not want more than one hardware platform company. That can be challenging for people in crowded market spaces, but other companies with not as much market opportunity may have a chance." For instance, "we didn't get a lot of appli- cants on the data analytics side," Parry said. "It's a very important component of the indus- try—drones collect more data than you might think, and industry will want to take that data and come up with accurate solutions for prob- lems based on that data. We hope that we'll have an analytics company in the mix in the coming round." Judges will also consider what benefits fi- nalists may bring to the central NY region. "For instance, one finalist, SkyOp, is a train- ing company for unmanned aerial systems," Parry said. "Training is a key ingredient for the region to support a successful business eco- system. We anticipate many more pilots in the Photos courtesy of James Domroe, 325 Productions and Kevin Foresti, Genius NY. RESOURCES FOR ENTREPRENEURS MIT Enterprise Forum http://www.mitef.org A global network of local chapters that holds meetings where entrepreneurs can present ideas for feedback and meet potential investors. Seed Accelerator Rankings Project http://seedrankings.com/ Uses data, surveys and interviews to rank accelerators National Venture Capital Association http://nvca.org Resources for firms and investors including policy news, model legal documents. Crunchbase www.crunchbase.com News and information on venture capital, VC-funded firms and accelerators AngelList https://angel.co/ unmanned-air-systems A listing of drone start-up firms, investors and jobs Sasi Prabhakaran, co-founder of Akrobotix, tweaks an autopilot prototype drone at the Tech Garden in Syracuse, NY.

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