Eight high-tech startups to compete in AFRL program


Eight startup teams for the next AFRL (Air Force Research Laboratory) Commercialization Academy cohort were announced by the Griffiss Institute.

The companies, developing innovations in the cyber security, big data analytics, information systems, and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)/drones industry, were selected from a pool of applicant submissions.

The teams are building their startups around Department of Defense intellectual property from the AFRL. The Commercialization Academy is a Griffiss Institute entrepreneurial education program sponsored by the AFRL Information Directorate, also known as Rome Lab.

The startups will participate in bi-weekly online classes and one-on-one sessions, and go through a down-select process in April. The remaining selected teams will compete live by pitching their tech businesses to a panel of judges at a June Demo Day event. The winner will receive $200,000 in prize seed funding from IDEA NY (Innovation & Development Entrepreneurial Accelerator), and $100,000 will go to the runner-up. The teams:

• Atolla Surveillance, of Rockville Centre — It is developing a sensor system for the
counter-surveillance of micro
air vehicles that would
otherwise be undetectable.

• BloomOptix, of Rochester — It is focused on providing innovative, high-resolution, accurate and timely early detection and forecasting services regarding harmful algal blooms, through the collection of data using unmanned aerial and surface vehicles.

• Future Skills USA™, of Utica — It is a Homeland Defense & National Security social
enterprise focused on economic development and workforce development of the Mohawk Valley, and security and
sustainability of U.S. commercial and military enterprises, as well as global and national
information infrastructures.

• Imagine Aerial, of Manlius — It is developing and deploying UAS and data innovations that revolutionize project delivery in building construction and maintenance, infrastructure, sports and public safety.

 (Name Pending), of Oneida — This company, whose name is pending, is developing an online privacy and anonymity service through the use of artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

• OMADA Group, of Long Beach, N.Y. — It is a training organization which also partners with additional companies in the UAV space to provide consolidated programs to law enforcement, fire services, emergency services, among others.

• Seven Points, of Utica — It is a data-specific SaaS (Software as a service) company focusing on human-centered design for municipalities, small businesses and nonprofits.

• Vistex Composites, of Schenectady — It is a manufacturing innovation company that has developed disruptive technology for the manufacturing of advanced thermoset and thermoplastic composite products.

“The Spring 2020 cohort is an impassioned group of startups with many creative ideas that can positively impact Central New York and the entire country,” said AFRL Commercialization Academy program manager Dan Fayette. “I look forward to watching their progress through the Commercialization Academy as they gather valuable information to help their businesses prosper and thrive. I wish the best of luck to all, as they strive to make the cut and compete at Demo Day for IDEA NY prize money.”

After Demo Day, eligible teams will participate in an IDEA NY accelerator program that will incentivize them to create and grow viable commercial businesses in the Mohawk Valley, by requiring that a company’s primary office be located in the region for a 12-month period.


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