Startups from Utica, Oneida win at Rome Lab commercialization contest


The maker of an app that lets construction contractors make precise job estimates in the field, and an Oneida company behind live drone video streaming were the big winners in Thursday evening’s business accelerator competition at the Griffiss Institute and Rome Lab.

Go Figure of Utica, which developed a mobile app for contractors, won the $200,000 grand prize, organizers announced.

The runner-up was SkyTubeLive, which received $100,000.

Four other teams each received $8,000 toward expenses incurred during the business incubation process.

The six teams are in the current cohort of the Commercialization Academy at the Air Force Research Lab Information Directorate, also known as the Rome Lab. The academy facilitates commercialization of military technology, and each team pitched their ideas in cyber security, big data, information systems, and unmanned aerial systems. 

The funding is from the Innovation and Development Entrepreneurial Accelerator, or IDEA NY Mohawk Valley, which is supported by a $2 million state upstate revitalization grant.

Teams now take part in the year-long accelerator program, which includes technical assistance from the Griffiss Institute, the non-profit organization set up to facilitate public-private cooperation on security research, and from Mohawk Valley Edge.

The teams are required to stay in the Mohawk Valley a year after Demo Day.

Teams were judged on factors such as their ability to affect the region’s startup ecosystem and high-tech economy, the culture of innovation within the startup from using Rome Lab technology, and sustainability beyond their startup period.

Teams were supported by venture capital firm Wasabi Ventures while either building a sustainable startup or enhancing technology from an existing startup with Department of Defense intellectual property.

Go Figure will use the money for product development and marketing.

“Our product development is slow because we can’t hire enough developers, because we don’t have enough money,” CEO Justin Call said in a statement from the Griffiss Institute.

“This is going to change that. So, we are going to be able to rapidly accelerate our product development and our data business at the same time. The other thing we are doing is investing in marketing,” the CEO Call added.

Likewise, the runner-up award is significant for SkyTubeLIve.

“This is huge,” said Brian Barris of SkyTubeLive.

“It will allow us to do all kinds of stuff that we’ve thought about for years, and now we finally have the resources to do those things, so this is really going to make a massive difference for us,” Barris added.

The other startup teams:

Cyber Defense Network Adapter of Oriskany, maker of cyber-protection safeguards intercepting threats before reaching the host system.

E-Health Now of Philadelphia, whose platform optimizes management plans for cancer patients in China.

Stonewall Defense of Watervliet, maker of a system for tracking rollaway containers used by scrap metal recyclers.

Tooling Intel of Yorkville, developer of a system for real-time tooling asset visibility and analytics.


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