Luminate NY—a business accelerator for startups with optics, photonics and imaging-enabled applications—has received 70 applications to compete for a spot in cohort II of the program.

Thirty percent of the applicants reside in countries outside of the United States. Companies submitting applications come from Sweden, India, Canada, Australia, Russia, Israel, Portugal, China, Netherlands and New Zealand.

“Luminate NY’s second round reaffirms Rochester as the global leader in the photonics industry, supporting promising next-gen OPI companies that will help to drive innovation and regional economic growth,”  said Howard Zemksy, president, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development.

Sixteen companies from New York State applied, with the remaining coming from U.S. cities including, Boston, San Francisco, Orlando, San Jose, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Fort Collins, Santa Clara, St. Louis, Durham, Columbus, Chicago, Providence, and Philadelphia.

Funding for the $10 million accelerator is being provided through the Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative and is being administered by NextCorps.

“The quality of the applicants for cohort II is very impressive and will surely result in a highly competitive Lightning Award event,” said Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director of Luminate NY. “We encourage people interested in what the program will bring to our region to attend this event.”

In October, the program’s management team and global advisory board will select 20 semi-finalists from the pool of applicants. Semi-finalists will then travel to Rochester to pitch their startups during Luminate NY’s Lightning Rounds, held on Nov. 13 and 14. Ten startups will then receive Lightning Awards during a ceremony at the Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman Museum. The winning startups will become a participant in cohort II of Luminate NY, and will receive an initial investment of $100,000.

Luminate NY’s cohort II will begin January 2019 at the newly renovated Sibley Building in Downtown Rochester.  The six-month program will help accelerate the commercialization of the most promising optics, photonics and imaging applications, using a rich ecosystem which includes the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, the Rochester Institute of Technology, AIM Photonics, and more than 100 area optics, photonics and imaging companies. In June 2019, the teams will compete for $2 million in follow-on funding.