Sentient Blue Technologies Wins GENIUS NY with Micro Gas Turbines for Drones
Sentient Blue, a company from Italy that is developing micro gas turbines to power drones, has won the $1 million grand prize in the Genius NY business competition in Syracuse and each of the four runners up won $500,000.
Modelled after Buffalo’s 43North program, Genius NY is the largest business accelerator competition in the country for the unmanned aerial systems industry acting as a business accelerator that offers selected teams expert advice and other resources including office space, company stipends, training and networking introductions. The yearlong program is focused on companies working on unmanned systems including hardware, software, data analytics and the internet of things.
During the event, held at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown, the five teams pitched their business plans to a panel of judges and a live audience. Following the pitches, all five competitors were awarded one of five investments.
The four runners-up in the competition — Resilienx from Syracuse, EagleHawk from Buffalo, Vermeer from Brooklyn and Civdrone from Israel not only received $500,000 but will also have set up offices in the Syracuse Technology Garden, a business accelerator operated by CenterState CEO on Harrison Street. They will be required to operate their businesses in Central New York for at least a year under the terms of the Genius NY program. The five companies were selected in December from among 350 applicants to participate in the program.
“The GENIUS NY competition is transforming the economic landscape of Central New York by attracting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs,” New York Governor Andrew 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.”
Founded in Parma, Italy Sentient Blue is an aerospace engineering company developing efficient, more environmentally friendly micro gas turbine-based power plants for use in unmanned aerial vehicles to increase flight endurance.
“This award is a real milestone for Sentient Blue,” said Saif Akanni, CEO and chief technology officer of Sentient Blue. “It will allow us to establish the company in Central New York and accelerate our growth and development.”
According to Sentient Blue its power systems can be attached to most of the larger drones (more than 20 pounds) available in the market today, including multi-rotor and fixed-wing ones. The company says its engines will enable doubling the airborne time for drones from an average of about 30 minutes to more than an hour.
EagleHawk provides a preventative maintenance platform for commercial buildings with flat roofs by leveraging drones equipped with infrared sensors to detect roof leaks; Vermeer offers an augmented reality drone solution that enables users to capture aerial photos, video and other data; ResilienX develops software to increase the resilience and reduce the maintenance costs of a UAS traffic management system; and Civdrone develops autonomous marking solutions on enterprise drones for the construction industry.
NY State contribution
New York State has now invested $15 million in Genius NY over three rounds of the competition. The program, which is administered by The Tech Garden and CenterState CEO in Syracuse, also offers incubator space, company resources, programming and mentoring.
State Sen. Rachel May, D-District 53 said, “I applaud all of the winners and participants in the GENIUS NY competition and look forward to the investments they will make in our region and economy. The energy and innovation they represent is vital to continuing to build a thriving entrepreneurship economy in central New York. By funding business incubators and nourishing the best talent in our region, we are building a platform from which our local economy can prosper and we retain the talent we need to make our region stronger.”