Six finalists will be selected to spend a year-long residency at The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, where they will develop their businesses and compete for up to $1 million in funding.
The Tech Garden is a business development facility run by the CenterState Corporation for Economic Development. Here, the six tech companies will benefit from the help of mentors and take advantage of opportunities for additional funding even after the competition is over.
The competition is offering grand prizes of $1 million, $600,000, and $400,000 to the top three finalists. While the runners-up were originally to receive $175,000 each, Genius NY has recently increased the minimum prize amount to $250,000. According to Rick Clonan, CenterState’s vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship, the higher prize amounts are intended to attract high-quality applicants.
Because the finalists will be required to give a 5% ownership stake to CenterState in exchange for the cash awards and mentorship opportunities, some startups have requested a higher minimum cash award. The startups will need strong financial support in order to launch their companies beyond the competition.
“Genius NY aims to capture the spirit of emerging industries and help them succeed in Central New York,” said Clonan. “IoT can enable and amplify the capabilities of unmanned systems, which makes companies that specialize in these technologies a natural fit for our accelerator.”
While revenue from mobile applications is estimated at nearly $35 billion worldwide, Cisco estimates that IoT will become a $19 trillion industry within the next 10 years.
The Internet of Things is defined as autonomous communication between physical objects. It includes any natural or man-made object with an IP address that can transfer data over a network. For instance, an animal with a biochip transponder, a car with built-in tire pressure sensors, or a person with an implanted heart monitor are all considered a part of the Internet of Things.
“IoT connected devices will transform our lives for the better with autonomous vehicles, smart homes, smart grids, and wearable devices,” said Marc Viggiano, Founder and CEO of Niteopark, and Executive Advisor to Genius NY. “It’s exciting that Genius NY is offering a unique opportunity to companies in this emerging field, and will allow them to gain a competitive advantage by leveraging our network and assets in Upstate.”
Startup companies within the industry of IoT have until October 16 to apply. So far, nearly 200 companies have submitted applications, some of which are based overseas in countries like Israel, Ukraine, Spain, the Bahamas, Belgium, and Brazil.