Syracuse, NY — A company from Britain that makes imaging equipment that helps police and security forces watch over valuable assets and facilities in remote or challenging places walked away with the $1 million grand prize in the Genius NY business competition Thursday night.
A five-judge panel chose Archangel Imaging Ltd. for the top prize after the company and four other finalists pitched their business plans before 100 people in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Marriott Syracuse Downtown.
Though Archangel won the $1 million grand prize, the four runners-up did not leave empty-handed. They will each receive $500,000.
Archangel was founded in Oxfordshire, England, in 2016. It makes equipment equipped with cameras that use artificial intelligence to look for trespassers and other lawbreakers in remote areas. Among the areas where they can be among the railroad facilities and areas where poachers hunt protected animals.
Dan Sola, an engineer and British army veteran who helped to find the company, said the cameras can even detect whether a person approaching, say, a herd of elephants in Africa has a gun in their hand.
When they detect a trespasser or poacher, the devices can automatically initiate visual or audio warnings to the suspects and can even launch a drone to autonomously record them until police or other security personnel arrive, he said.
Sola said the company plans to use the $1 million prize money to hire workers in Syracuse and start production of the latest version of its devices. The company is already looking for a local manufacturer with which to partner, he said.
All five finalists moved to The Tech Garden, a business accelerator in downtown Syracuse, in August. Under the terms of the contest, they must operate their businesses in Central New York for at least one year.
The prize money will be distributed during the year according to their needs and their meeting of business milestones, said John Liddy, interim vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO, which operates The Tech Garden.
The annual, state-funded competition is open to startups around the world who can show potential for success in the uncrewed systems industry. This year’s finalists were chosen from more than 200 applicants from over 50 countries.
This is the sixth year of the contest. In the first five years of the program, $15 million in prize money was awarded to 27 companies. Since 2017, Genius NY companies have raised more than $90 million in follow-on funding and have created 75 jobs in the region, according to CenterState CEO.
These are the four runners-up in this year’s competition:
AVSS – Aerial Vehicle Safety Solutions Inc. (Canada): Produces a parachute recovery system for unmanned aerial vehicles. The system allows drones to safely land when their motors fail.
Dronehub (Poland): Dronehub has developed autonomous charging docks for drones — a sort of gas station for unmanned aerial vehicles — that help companies with large infrastructure reduce monitoring costs and get real-time aerial data.
Fusion Engineering (Netherlands): Fusion is working to create an easy-to-use flight controller for any type of multirotor drone.
Wonder Robotics (Israel): The company has developed a system that enables autonomous commercial drone operations.
Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Got a tip, comment or story idea? Contact him anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148