Griffiss Institute: Two Local Startups Win Big at AFRL Commercialization Academy Demo Day; $300,000 Awarded

Griffiss Institute: Two Local Startups Win Big at AFRL Commercialization Academy Demo Day; $300,000 Awarded

Friday, March 22, 2019 - 09:26
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Griffiss Institute

Rome, NY–The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate(AFRL/RI), together with Griffiss Instituteis happy to announce the winners from the AFRL Commercialization AcademyDemo Dayand IDEA NYbusiness accelerator competition, held this evening, Thursday, March 21, 2019, at Griffiss Institute, in Rome, New York.

Go Figure, from Utica, NY, walked away with the Grand Prize of $200,000, and runner-up, SkyTubeLive, from Oneida, NY, took home $100,000 for their startup!

The four remaining teams were awarded up to $8,000 in "consolation" prize money to reimburse for expenses incurred during the incubation process.

“We have two things that we need to start funding,” said Justin Call, CEO of Go Figure, “Our product development is slow because we can’t hire enough developers, because we don’t have enough money. 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.”

"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. It’s just amazing!”

Six teams from the current Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate Commercialization Academy, a national leader for facilitating the transfer of military technologies into the commercial marketplace, pitched their startup ideas in cyber security, big data, information systems, and Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for $300,000 in prize seed funding provided by IDEA NY.

The judges’ panel evaluated each startup based on such factors as: the ability of the business to affect the Mohawk Valley’s startup ecosystem and high-tech economy, the culture of innovation that has been created within the startup due to incorporating AFRL technology, the sustainability of the solution beyond the initial startup period and go-to market strategy.

The startups were incubated by early-stage venture capital firm Wasabi Ventures, while embarking on an acceleration process to either build a sustainable startup, or enhance technology from an already existing startup, with Department of Defense Intellectual Property from the Information Directorate.

“What an event! All the teams gave exceptional presentations that were well received by all in attendance. I was really impressed with their enthusiasm and visons for establishing their businesses in the Mohawk Valley based on Air Force Intellectual Property,” said Dan Fayette, principal engineer at Griffiss Institute.

 The six startup teams who took the stage on Thursday evening were:

  • CYBER DEFENSE NETWORK ADAPTER– Oriskany, NY – In-Line Malware Prevention - CDNA provides a diverse set of cyber-protection and sits in-line with your network connection, intercepting threats before reaching the host system.
  • E-HEALTH NOW– Philadelphia, PA – Breaking down geographical barriers to provide affordable world-class cancer care - E-Health Now is the first platform that exclusively focuses on optimizing the management plans for cancer patients in China.
  • GO FIGURE– Utica, NY –The Contractor’s Mobile Office - Go Figure is the only solution that lets you measure, estimate, and create a proposal, all onsite using just your iPad.
  • SKYTUBELIVE– Oneida, NY – Safe. Private. Secure. Live Drone Video Streaming - SkyTubeLive is the site for live streaming drone videos.
  • STONEWALL DEFENSE– Watervliet, NY – Leadership - Technology – Training -Emphasizing leadership, technology, and training, it seeks to help scrap metal recyclers protect their valuable rollaway containers that regularly stolen or lost.  A small, low cost, high powered tracker that can give users near real time updates as to the location of their assets.  Its software is integrated with the high-powered DoD system, Android Team Awareness Kit, and can link thousands of different assets across multiple networks in a manageable common operating picture.
  • TOOLING INTEL– Yorkville, NY – Tooling Assets with a Pulse - Tooling Intel will bridge the gap between corporate and operations to bring real-time global tooling asset visibility and predictive tooling analytics to all corporate stakeholders.

The Innovation & Development Entrepreneurial Accelerator, known as IDEA NY Mohawk Valley, is a business accelerator competition and twelve-month program that will incentivize promising entrepreneurs to create and grow viable commercial businesses in the Mohawk Valley region. This accelerator program is made possible by a $2 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant from New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Some of the world’s most pioneering and successful companies began as a conversation over a cup of coffee or in a garage—IDEA NY could be the launching pad for a brilliant idea that creates something great and grows the regional economy.”

After today’s Demo Day, eligible teams will participate in the year-long IDEA NY accelerator program. Additional assistance will be provided to the teams through the Griffiss Institute, the Griffiss Institute Business Incubator, a Certified NYS Business Incubator, and Mohawk Valley EDGE. Participating teams will be required to reside in the Mohawk Valley region for a 12-month period after Demo Day.  

The 2019 AFRL Commercialization Academy program has been made possible by the generosity of our community supporters;M&T BankNational Gridand NYSTEC.