© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Tech Garden in Syracuse celebrates its 10-year anniversary

Tom Magnarelli
One of the presenters at The Tech Garden's start-up pitch competition


The Tech Garden is an incubator for new technology-related businesses and is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in Syracuse. The Tech Garden offers space for start-up companies to lease, as well as professional mentoring and investment capital.


Leane Eckelberg is the CEO of HoverStat which does drone roof inspections for solar panel installations. She went on a call with a solar technician and when they got to the house, it started to rain.


“The solar tech doesn't want to get up on the roof. It's unsafe. His employer certainly does not want to get up on that roof," Eckelberg said. "So this is where a HoverStat solution comes into play."


The idea is to fly a drone, which takes aerial video footage, and then process the data into a full solar assessment.


HoverStat was just one of many start-ups that pitched their ideas at a competition for cash prizes, celebrating The Tech Garden's anniversary.


The winner was an app called Mogee from Syracuse which makes animated emoji faces for smartphone text messages.


Seth Mulligan (right) helps out one of the presenters at The Tech Garden.

Seth Mulligan is the vice president of innovation services for CenterState CEO and The Tech Garden is an affiliate.

“The Tech Garden is now two buildings, we've had a really high occupancy, we've had a lot more events, we're doing a lot more investing and we've had some really successful graduates," Mulligan said. "We always want them to stay here, some of them don't, but a lot of them are.”


Mulligan said one way to get companies to stay is to develop  innovation districts in Syracuse.


"Having certain graduation pathways for our companies, like other buildings they can land to next, I think some of those are going to be the next wave of the next 10 years," Mulligan said.


Mulligan said The Tech Garden does lots of programming he would like to see continue such as coaching, hackathons and seed investment. The Tech Garden invests almost one million dollars in other companies every year. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.