ff Venture Capital Partners with GENIUS NY Accelerator as In-resident Investor

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Sept. 12, 2023, Syracuse, NY – ff Venture Capital (ffVC) announced today the opening of its first Upstate New York office within CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, the location’s first in-residence investor. The Tech Garden is home to GENIUS NY, the world’s largest business accelerator for uncrewed aerial systems (UAS), operated by CenterState CEO. To date, ffVC has invested in two GENIUS NY portfolio companies: CivRobotics and CarScanner. Almost half of companies in GENIUS NY have gone on to raise follow-on funding from venture capitalists, with more expected. Each cohort year, companies are fundraising and seeking follow-on funding, making this partnership crucial for the continued growth and survival of startups. Within the new partnership, ffVC will have an office at The Tech Garden and be available to meet with GENIUS NY and The Tech Garden members, bringing potential new deal flow opportunities to the region.

“This partnership and the growth of venture capital and early-stage investment in the region is another sign of the strength of Central New York’s innovation ecosystem,” said Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY. “This valuable new investment tool is part of growing set of resources that will help entrepreneurs thrive here in our region.” 

ffVC is an international venture capital firm with offices and funds in the United States and Europe. Founded in 2008, the firm has been empowering startup founders with funding and resources to launch transformative technologies that impact the lives of millions. Since its first investment in the drone space in 2014, ffVC has been an active investor in the automation industry, including such market leaders as Burro, Cambrian Robotics, Digital Twin, Lynq, Manna, PlusOne Robotics, SkyCatch, and Zenith Aerospace.

“This partnership offers ffVC a unique opportunity to be actively engaged with some of the best mechatronic startups in the world, working with them to turn their products into thriving companies generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue,” states Oliver Mitchell, Partner at ffVC. “Central New York is a critical environment for launching uncrewed systems and offers a unique landing pad for international founders entering the United States. We are excited to deepen our efforts in the Upstate region, expanding our portfolio and presence in the fields of autonomy and mobility.” Mitchell recently joined ffVC’s partnership to increase the firm’s focus in the automation sector and sits on the boards of portfolio companies Civ Robotics and Cambrian Robotics. He has a track record as a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with recent exits in Ekso Bionics (NASDAQ:EKSO), NovoCure (NASDAQ:NVCR), and TripleLift.

To date, GENIUS NY has invested more than $21 million in 36 startups, which have gone on to raise more than $100 million in follow-on funding, adding more than 80 new local jobs from teams. Finalists for the program’s seventh cohort are currently participating in the accelerator, and will compete for $3 million in direct investment, with one grand prize of up to $1 million and four $500,000 awards, at GENIUS NY Pitch Finals, on Oct. 4, 2023.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The decision by ff Venture Capital to open an office at The Tech Garden, home to the New York State-supported GENIUS NY accelerator, reflects the global success of this uncrewed aerial systems competition and the attention and private investment it’s attracting based on all that the Central New York region has to offer.”

Additionally, ffVC and GENIUS NY plan to continue to hold its annual Robotics and Drone Summit, with the goal of exploring how drones and robotics are impacting the construction, agricultural, transportation, supply chain, energy, aeronautics, consumer, and defense industries. Last year, the summit was held in the fall in New York City and attracted more than 300 attendees including mechatronic entrepreneurs from across the world, leading investors, corporate innovation leaders, and curious customers.

To learn more about GENIUS NY visit, www.geniusny.com. To learn more about ffVC visit, www.ffvc.com.



About GENIUS NY – GENIUS NY is the world’s largest business accelerator program focused on uncrewed systems. The program is operated by CenterState CEO and housed at The Tech Garden in Central New York, and is funded by New York State’s Empire State Development. In addition to the $1 million grand prize and four $500,000 investments, the program also offers resources, programming, and mentoring, making it among the largest competitions of its kind across the globe. More information is available here.

About ffVC – ff Venture Capital (ffVC) is an early-stage venture firm focused on global opportunities, with 90+ active portfolio companies across emerging technology sectors, including Applied AI, FinTech, Insurtech, Drones, and Robotics. Notable investments include: Addepar, Cornerstone OnDemand, Clarity Money (acquired by: Goldman Sachs), Movable Ink, Omaze, Owlet (NYSE:OWLT), Plated (Albertsons), Transactis (MasterCard), Rescale, and Socure. Founded in 2008, ffVC has offices in New York and Warsaw.

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