ff Venture Capital to Be First In-Residence Investor With GENIUS NY Accelerator

High-tech investor is collaborating with Central New York program supporting uncrewed aerial systems startups.


ff Venture Capital is opening an office in Central New York.
ff Venture Capital is opening an office in Syracuse, N.Y., and will support competitions and events with GENIUS NY for drone and robotics startups in the region.

ff Venture Capital this week announced the opening of its first Upstate New York office within The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, the location’s first in-residence investor. The Tech Garden is home to GENIUS NY, which claimed to be “the world’s largest business accelerator for uncrewed aerial systems” or UASes.

“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,” stated Oliver Mitchell, a partner at ff Venture Capital (ffVC).

“Central New York is a critical environment for launching uncrewed systems and offers a unique landing pad for international founders entering the U.S.,” he said. “We are excited to deepen our efforts in the Upstate region, expanding our portfolio and presence in the fields of autonomy and mobility.”

GENIUS NY nurtures Upstate UAS startups

GENIUS NY is operated by CenterState CEO and funded by New York State’s Empire State Development. The organization has already invested more than $21 million in 36 startups, almost half of which have gone on to raise more than $100 million in follow-on funding, adding more than 80 new local jobs from the teams.

“Each cohort year, companies are fundraising and seeking follow-on funding, making this partnership crucial for the continued growth and survival of startups,” it said.

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.

In addition to those investments, GENIUS NY also offers resources, programming, and mentoring. It claimed it was among the largest UAS competitions of its kind across the globe.

New office intended to bring new opportunities

To date, ffVC has invested in two GENIUS NY portfolio companies: CivRobotics and CarScanner. Within the new partnership, the venture capital firm will have an office at The Tech Garden and be able to meet with GENIUS NY and Tech Garden members, bringing new 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.”

“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,” said Hope Knight, president, commissioner, and CEO of Empire State Development.

In addition, ffVC and GENIUS NY plan to continue to hold the annual Robotics and Drone Summit, with the goal of exploring how drones and robotics are affecting the construction, agriculture, 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 mechatronics entrepreneurs from across the world, leading investors, corporate innovation leaders, and curious customers.

About ff Venture Capital

Founded in 2008, ffVC is an international venture capital firm with offices in New York and Warsaw. It has focused on early-stage, global opportunities, with more than 90 active portfolio companies across emerging technology sectors, including applied AI, financial and insurance tech, drones, and robotics.

ffVC has invested in companies including Burro, Cambrian Robotics, Digital Twin, Lynq, Manna, Plus One Robotics, SkyCatch, and Zenith Aerospace.

Mitchell recently joined ffVC’s partnership to increase the firm’s focus in the automation sector, and he sits on the boards of portfolio companies Civ Robotics and Cambrian Robotics. Mitchell has a track record as a serial entrepreneur and angel investor with recent exits in Ekso Bionics, NovoCure, and TripleLift.

Field Robotics panel with Charlie Anderson, Burro; Liav Muller, CivRobotics; Ray Chen, Millenium Tech Value Partners; and moderator Oliver Mitchell, ffVC

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ff Venture Capital is opening an office in Central New York.

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