Invest NY: Future of Aerospace and Defense Event Recap

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On July 8, 2021, Upstate Capital, NYSTAR and the Innovare Advancement Center at Griffiss Institute presented Invest NY: Future of Aerospace and Defense to bring together investors and dealmakers with entrepreneurs and startups. Over 175 people participated online and in-person in the hybrid event. 

To kick off the event, 15 startups that are innovating in the aerospace and defense industries and other related sectors gave 3-minute pitches to investors around and outside New York. Check out the pitch sessions in full below, and find out more about the companies here.

After the pitches, the startups had the opportunity to network with investors and other guests both online and at the Innovare Advancement Center in Rome, NY. The Center is the premier talent and technology accelerator for AI/ML, Cyber, Quantum and UAS. A 150,000 square foot open innovation hub, Innovare’s unique capabilities include highly specialized laboratories for experimentation in quantum communications and neuromorphic computing, 40,000 square feet of high-tech and high-speed communications-enabled collaboration spaces, an auditorium with capacity for over 250 people, a 50-mile drone corridor for advanced unmanned aircraft operations, and coming in spring 2022 – an indoor UAS research and testing facility with 22,500 square foot indoor flight testing area – the largest in the United States.

Noa Simons from Upstate Capital, Heather Hage from Griffiss Institute and Matt Watson from NYSTAR gave an introduction of the event and their organizations to start off the rest of the program and introduce the keynote speaker: Mr. Tim Sakulich. Tim is a member of the Senior Executive Service and Executive Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He is the Principal Assistant to the Commander and the Senior Civilian Executive responsible for managing the Air Force’s $3 billion science and technology program along with an additional $3 billion of externally funded research and development.

Next, Noa Simons moderated a conversation with the founders of AX Enterprize, a system design and integrations company that focuses on communications, mobile networking, data management and visualization. AX Enterprize’s CEO, Pat Baskinger and the CTO, MC Chruscicki discussed building their company and being women founders in the aerospace and defense industries.

David Kocen, Managing Member at Bluehenge Capital, hosted a conversation on middle market PE-backed growth stories featuring Greg Wales of Ventoux Industrial Holdings.

Next, we heard from two more founders who are rising forces in the aerospace and defense industries. Heather Hage spoke with the CEO Charles Green and COO Dan Kalil of AIS, Assured Information Security.

Finally, Tommy Hendrix, Founding Partner at Decisive Point, moderated a panel with Jonathan Greene, Senior Investment Director at New York Ventures and Daniel Hanks, Founding General Partner at Lavrock Ventures. The group shared the venture capital perspective in the aerospace and defense industries.

We are pleased to announce the winner of the event game: We are pleased to announce the winner of the event game: Ryan Pleskach, Chief Executive Officer at ResilienX. Ryan wins a VIP event box!

The winner of our donation raffle is Brian Bischoff, COO of Innosek. A $100 donation will be made in Brian’s name to the charity of his choice: WNY Invention Convention, a program that celebrates young inventors from public, private, and charter schools as well as home schools and Scout troops.

Check out the event photos by clicking here! Feel free to use them and tag us at @upstatecapital.

The event was part of the Invest NY Series: to highlight investment opportunities in innovation in a number of sectors across New York.  Upstate Capital has partnered with NYSTAR to produce these events in a number of key industries including health and well-being, industry 4.0, climate tech and coming up on September 16, women’s health. Stay tuned for more information.