New York drone hub brings in European drone law expert for support — here’s why

GENIUS NY is a heavy hitter in the drone startup and innovation scene. And now, another key industry stakeholder is joining in. In July 2023, GENIUS NY announced that it is bringing in the team from Murzilli Consulting under a new partnership that could be particularly useful for the startups partnering in the GENIUS NY accelerator program.

Lorenzo Murzilli
Photo courtesy of Lorenzo Murzilli.

GENIUS NY was launched in 2017 as an accelerator for drones and robotics, having invested $18 million in 32 companies across eight countries since its inception, doled out mostly through its annual startup pitch competition. As of now, it’s joined forces with Murzilli Consulting, which is a Switzerland-based aviation consultancy firm founded in 2020 by Lorenzo Murzilli.

Murzilli is mostly known for his work as both an aerospace engineer and in developing EU drone regulations, U-space frameworks and the SORA methodology. He also has other role including sitting on the board of Israeli UTM company FlightOps and co-founding DroneTalks, an online drone community platform.

What the news means for GENIUS NY drone startups

For the startups participating in GENIUS NY, it’s likely that having access to Murzilli Consulting expertise around strategic and regulatory consulting services will help them simplify what’s currently a relatively complicated regulatory landscape — and thus ideally be able to generate revenue faster.

These days, GENIUS NY is considered the largest drone and robotics accelerator program in the world. It vets startup ideas and offers funds to the most promising based on viability of business models. But GENIUS NY has also promised to provide more support than just money by way of ‘end-to-end’ help, including simply offering up office space at The Tech Garde (that’s CenterState CEO’s incubator in downtown Syracuse), as well as the benefit of ultra-close proximity to New York’s Griffiss International Airport, one of just seven FAA-designated UAS test sites in the United States. New York is also the site of the UTM Pilot Program Phase 2, and has been the site of other drone testing projects including drone parachutes.

Participants also receive other resources, programming, mentors and connections. And now, startups picked for the GENIUS NY accelerator will also receive a “support package” curated for the specific company.

GENIUS NY 2019 Sentient Blue NYC New York startup accelerator drone
Sentient Blue was the one million dollar winner of the GENIUS NY 2019 startup accelerator drone competition. Photo courtesy of GENIUS NY.

As far as where GENIUS NY’s funding comes from, well, that’s funded by Empire State Development.

GENIUS NY has historically selected five finalists every year to win. Those five finalists are guarantee to split part of the $3 million cash prize pool — which includes a single, $1 million grand prize. This year’s application period closed in May 2023, but follow Drone Girl for the next application window, as we’ll keep tracking it here.

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