British startup wins $1M grand prize in Genius NY business competition in Syracuse

Syracuse, NY — A company from Britain that makes imaging equipment that helps police and security forces keep an eye on important assets and facilities in remote or challenging areas has a $1 million grand prize in the competition at Genius NY business Thursday night.

A panel of five judges selected Archangel Imaging Ltd. for the top prize after the company and four other finalists pitched their business plans in front of 100 people in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Marriott Syracuse Downtown.

Although Archangel won the $1 million grand prize, the four runners-up did not walk away empty-handed. They will receive $500,000 each.

Archangel was founded in Oxfordshire, England, in 2016. It makes devices equipped with cameras that use artificial intelligence to find lawbreakers and other lawbreakers in remote locations. Among the places where they can be deployed are railway facilities and places where poachers hunt protected animals.

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Dan Sola, an engineer and British army veteran who helped found the company, said the cameras could detect if someone approaching, say, a herd of elephants in Africa had a gun in their hands.

When they detect a trespasser or poacher, the devices can automatically trigger visual or audio warnings to suspects and can even launch a drone to autonomously record them until the police arrive or other security personnel, he said.

Sola said the company plans to use the $1 million in prize money to hire workers in Syracuse and begin production of the latest version of its devices. The company is already looking for a local manufacturer to partner with, he said.

All five finalists moved into 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.

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The prize money will be distributed throughout the year according to their needs and their meeting 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 worldwide that can demonstrate the potential for success in the uncrewed systems industry. This year’s finalists were chosen from more than 200 applicants from more than 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 created 75 jobs in the region, according to the CenterState CEO.

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These are the four runners-up in this year’s competition:

AVSS – Aerial Vehicle Safety Solutions Inc. (Canada): Develops a parachute recovery system for unmanned aerial vehicles. The system allows drones to land safely when their motors fail.

Dronehub (Poland): Dronehub has developed autonomous charging docks for drones — a kind of gas station for unmanned aerial vehicles — that help companies with large infrastructures reduce monitoring costs and gain 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. Have a tip, comment or story idea? Contact him anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148


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