From Croc Pitch to Genius NY Pitch, Blueflite Claims $1 Million Top Prize


The sixth annual Innovation Night, hosted by CenterState CEO, featured the Genius NY Pitch Finals, where technology startup Blueflite secured the top prize of $1 million. The event, held at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown in, showcased presentations from the five tech startups that reached the final round. Genius NY, a business accelerator dedicated to unmanned aerial flight systems, invests $3 million in tech startups in New York state each year, with funding from Empire State Development and in collaboration with CenterState CEO.

The competing companies included Aloft, Blueflite, GreenJets, Voltela, and Votix, all focused on drone production. Each startup had five minutes to pitch their product to the audience, followed by a Q&A session with a panel of judges.

Frank Noppel, CEO and co-founder of Blueflite, presented a prototype of their drone, highlighting the company’s mission to transport medical devices like EpiPens and medicines, ultimately saving lives in cases of emergencies.

Blueflite secured the first-place investment of $1 million, with Voltela, another drone startup, working on software for controlling drones via cell phones, winning $500,000. GreenJets, focused on creating quieter drones, and Votix, which aims to improve drone safety, also received $500,000 investments. Votix was named the fan favorite of the night.

Blueflite Co-Founders Frank Noppel and James McClearen said, “Blueflite is thrilled to have won the prestigious GENIUS NY $1M prize, organized by CenterState CEO. We see this as a remarkable achievement and testament to our capabilities, and we are enthusiastic to begin an exciting journey strengthening our presence in the State of New York. The support from GENIUS NY has been invaluable, and we look forward to drive innovation and excellence in the drone industry, benefiting not only our company but also the communities we serve.”

Founded in 2018, the company offers a drone-based logistics platform. It’s patented, unique, and all-electrical drone design has vertical take-off and landing capabilities, advanced maneuverability, and is built to meet the rigorous demands of commercial operations.

Their technology also garnered the attention of Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund at the Croc Pitch 2023 competition in Darwin, receiving investment despite not not winning the overall competition. Croc Pitch is an annual event hosted by the Darwin Innovation Hub with a global reach, attracts co-investors and fosters innovation partnerships.